Under a program called Project Clean Slate, hundreds of Michigan residents are trying to expunge their records of criminal convictions, driven by prospects of better jobs, housing needs and getting state certification for vocations that require state licensing.
At job fairs for 5,000 positions being offered by Fiat Chrysler ahead of a plant expansion, Detroit residents are getting assistance through Project Clean Slate to clear their records of old criminal offenses, the Detroit News reports. While Fiat Chrysler is considered a “background-friendly” employer, the city is enlisting lawyers to help clients go through the expungement process and represent them, for free, at court hearings that will determine if offenses will be removed.
Under Michigan law, an individual who has a criminal record can apply to have one felony or two misdemeanors removed from their records and for old criminal offenses to be made non-public.
Michigan is among 36 states with expungement laws. There is a movement among some states toward introducing laws that make expungements automatic for some criminal offenses after 10 years. Michigan residents must wait five years after any criminal offense or contact with law enforcement that results in an infraction before becoming eligible to apply for an expungement. Assault-type offenses are not eligible, nor are offenses in which the sentence would have been a life sentence, such as murder.
Project Clean Slate attorney Kyona McGhee says many people are seeking expungements for better employment opportunities and “overall better life experiences.”
McGhee says the process can take anywhere from one to four months. New fingerprinting is required as part of the application.