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Understanding Michigan’s New Marijuana Expungement Laws

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Understanding Michigan’s New Marijuana Expungement Laws

Understanding Michigan’s New Marijuana Expungement Laws

Posted in Uncategorized
by Van Den Heuvel Law Office

In September of 2020, Michigan’s legislature approved a series of bills designed to make expungement easier for certain types of non-violent convictions. One of those, House Bill 4982, is intended to give relief to people who were convicted of misdemeanor charges related to marijuana consumption or possession. The law has many advantages for people convicted of relatively minor drug charges, but the convicted person still needs to apply for expungement, and understanding which charges can be expunged before applying can affect your chances of success. The team at Van Den Heuvel Law Office has represented many clients on marijuana charges, and we’re pleased to assist individuals seeking expungement under these new laws.

Can My Michigan Marijuana Conviction be Expunged?

Several of the new laws expand the types of charges that are eligible for expungement, but HB 4982 is slightly different. Generally speaking, this law says that since marijuana laws in Michigan changed in 2018, conduct that people were previously convicted for is no longer illegal, and the conviction would no longer be possible under current law. This creates an automatic presumption that the conviction can be removed. However, it’s important to understand that marijuana convictions are not automatically expunged, you must still apply for expungement. A system for automatic expungement is being developed, but it will not likely be in place until at least 2023 or later.

Eligibility for Expunging Marijuana Charges in Michigan

Individuals can apply to have their marijuana charges expunged beginning on April 11, 2021. Unlike other expungements, there is no required waiting period; marijuana convictions can be expunged immediately.

Once the application is submitted, the prosecutor has 60 days to respond with a rebuttal. If there is no reply from the prosecutor, the court then has 21 days to issue an order expunging the conviction. If the prosecutor does respond, a hearing will be scheduled within 30 days of the reply being received. In that hearing, the prosecutor must prove that the behavior which led to the conviction would still be a criminal act under current law in order to prevent the expungement from moving forward.

Helping Good People Get Back on Track

Legislators passed HB 4982 because there was widespread agreement that people should no longer be held back from jobs, housing, or other opportunities based on behavior that is now legal in Michigan. State Senator Jeff Irwin, in an interview with Michigan Radio, said the new laws could impact as many as 235,000 Michiganders.

At Van Den Heuvel Law Office, we understand that even responsible people sometimes make mistakes, and when those mistakes put you on the wrong side of the law, you deserve to be treated with compassion. Our team of experienced attorneys is dedicated to helping people get their lives back after a criminal charge or conviction. If you’ve been convicted of a marijuana-related crime or other charges that may be eligible for expungement, call our office today to learn how we may be able to help.

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