Bills Would Help People Get Minor Offenses Off Their Records

Sep 9, 2019

The Michigan capitol building in Lansing.
Credit Carlos Osorio / AP Photo

A group of state lawmakers wants to make it easier for people with low-level criminal convictions to get them "set aside" by the state. Legislation expected to hit the State House this week would let people ask to have convictions for some misdemeanors and low-level felonies scrubbed, for the most part, from their record. Law enforcement could still see those convictions, but employers could not.

Republican Graham Filler chairs the House Judiciary Committee. He says having any kind of criminal record, even for something minor like driving without a license, can make it hard to get a job.

“Also, under the licensure requirements, sometimes if an individual has anything on their record it might be used to stop them from getting a license, and we want to cut that barrier off too,” he said.

Filler says some crimes would not be removable. Those include murder, sexual misconduct offenses and drunk driving.

“One could imagine as a trucking company," Filler said, "they would want to know if an individual they hired had multiple DUIs.”

One bill would automatically set aside some convictions. Filler says the proposals have bipartisan support.