IS YOUR CRIMINAL RECORD HOLDING
Tips on how to expunge your criminal record
Prepared in June 2003 by:
Western Michigan Legal Services
89 Ionia NW
Grand Rapids, MI 49503
The publication was supported by a grant from the
Soros Justice Fellowship Program of the Open Society Institute
This publication is not intended to replace the advice of an attorney.
Because laws and procedures on expungement can change, and because every individual’s situation
is different, Western Michigan Legal Services cannot ensure that the information in this manual is current,
nor be responsible for any use to which this information is put.
What is an Expungement?
Expunging your criminal record means that your prior conviction is set aside. If you
have a conviction expunged, you are considered not to have been convicted for most purposes.
For example, you can honestly tell potential employers that you have a clean criminal record.
Your conviction can only be used for very limited purposes, such as increasing your sentence if
you are convicted of a new offense. An expunged conviction is not supposed to appear on your
rap sheet. (If it does, contact an attorney.)
Getting your criminal record expunged can make it much easier for you to get a job,
housing, or credit. Many employers won’t hire you if you have a criminal record. Many
landlords won’t rent to you. And a criminal record may prevent you from getting subsidized
housing or public benefits. If you have a criminal record, you probably already know how much
harder it makes many things in life. If you can get your record expunged, the law treats you – in
most cases – as if you had never been convicted.
How Do I Know if I Can Get an Expungement?
Both adult convictions and juvenile adjudications can be expunged. However, not
everyone can get their criminal record expunged. To be eligible for an expungement, you must
meet very specific criteria.
To see if you are eligib