As resources permit, MILS shall assist clients in expunging tribal and Michigan juvenile delinquency and criminal convictions or placement on the Central Child Abuse and Neglect Registry.

CURRENT PROJECT: Although MILS' expungement priority is statewide, we are currently focusing expungement services in northwestern Michigan. MILS is collaborating with Northwest Michigan Works, which will assist clients at the beginning of the process by helping to gather the information and documents needed for an attorney to evaluate their case, and Safe and Just Michigan. MILS will provide legal representation in the expungement court proceedings for income-eligible clients with convictions in the Northwest Michigan region. We are also coordinating with other legal aid providers around the state who will assist income-eligible clients with convictions arising from courts in other areas of Michigan.


Starting in February 2022, a first-time operating while intoxicated offense will be eligible for expungement in certain situations.

SECOND CHANCES: All of us value a second chance when we’re given one. But for people who have a criminal record, that second chance is often elusive. The pervading myth is that once the “debt to society” has been paid, the punishment would end. Sadly, it usually does not. Once released from jail or probation, affordable housing and gainful employment are often denied or unattainable due to a criminal record, even though all punishments and sentencing have ended. Many landlords refuse to rent property; many employers refuse to consider an application that has been check-marked for a criminal. As a result, some people continue to pay for their mistakes for many years or even decades. A second chance allows these folks to become a positive and contributing member of their community.

In April 2021, Michigan enacted the Clean Slate Law to help those with criminal records seek expungement through the legal system. The law will help people find better jobs, qualify for housing and higher education loans, and give peace of mind that past mistakes are no longer a hindrance. Courts may set aside your conviction(s) if you meet specific criteria.

Criteria You Must Meet

1) Your crime(s) must be ones that can be expunged or set aside.

o For example, most criminal sexual conduct convictions, some child abuse crimes, felony domestic violence if you have a previous misdemeanor domestic violence conviction, terrorism or human trafficking cannot be expunged.

o Convictions for which the maximum punishment is life in prison cannot be set aside.

2) You may have too many convictions.

o If you have more than three felony offenses in Michigan you might not be able to expunge any convictions, with the exception of misdemeanor marijuana offenses.

3) There are waiting periods.

o The waiting periods range from none at all for misdemeanor marijuana related crimes to seven years for more than one felony conviction.

The Process of Cleaning Your Record

You do not need an attorney to set aside your conviction(s). However, it is strongly recommended given the complexities of the law. If you meet the criteria set forth in the statute, you must submit the required paperwork to the court in which you were convicted. You must also file this same paperwork with the Michigan State Police, the prosecutor in the county in which you were convicted, and the Michigan Attorney General’s office. The application should include supporting documentation of why your conviction should be set aside, such as letters of recommendation, attendance at AA (applicable to first-time OWI petitions), or other improvements you have made in your life. Once all the documents are submitted, a hearing will be scheduled in the court you were convicted in.


Free legal representation may be available to you. Items you will be responsible for:

o Obtaining certified copies of your convictions (costs depend on the county);

o Obtaining fingerprints (may be a fee associated with obtaining them);

o Application fee to the Michigan State Police for verifying your identity and criminal background ($50); Notary services (may be a fee associated with obtaining notarization).

o MILS will help you obtain required items and seek assistance with covering costs.