Free legal advice on criminal record expungement available to Detroiters
Detroiters can get help with expunging criminal records today at a Project Clean State Fair.
The event, coinciding with National Expungement Week, runs 10 a.m.-3p.m. today at Straight Gate International Church, 10100 Grand River. It is open to Detroit residents only.
Dozens of lawyers will provide free advice about expungement eligibility and the process.
To be eligible for expungement, candidates must have no more than one felony or two misdemeanors. Traffic offenses are not eligible, and it must be at least five years since the date of conviction, release from incarceration or discharge from probation or parole.
So far this year the project has helped nearly 200 Detroiters expunge records with many still in the process.
"Prior criminal records — even for minor offenses — are a major barrier to jobs and opportunity for thousands of Detroiters," Mayor Mike Duggan said in a statement. "People who have paid their debt and want to rebuild their lives can count on the City of Detroit to help them through the expungement process and connect with jobs through Project Clean Slate."
Attendees should bring I.D. and any information or legal documentation they have regarding offenses or conviction history. Detroit at Work will also be at the fair to give Detroiters information about the wide range of career opportunities that are still available even without expungement.
Ford Motor Co. is also providing volunteers to help Detroiters at the event.
Project Clean Slate was launched by Duggan in 2015 to help Detroiters with criminal records get them expunged, allowing greater access to opportunity in multiple areas such as employment, housing, and access to public benefits.
Due to the complexity of the application process, the city has hired two full-time lawyers to assist Detroiters with their applications.
“Project Clean Slate breaks down barriers that stand between Detroit residents and their dreams,” Detroit Corporation Counsel Lawrence García said in a statment. “The legal process for expungement is not simple and mistakes can cause up to a three-year delay before a further expungement application can be made. Free legal services and qualified help in preparing applications can greatly increase chances of success, and PCS is an important benefit for those who need it.
“Within a year, people who have had their records expunged typically see a 25% wage increase; it is a great honor to help Detroiters take control of their financial well-being and professional ambitions,” added Garcia.
For Detroiters unable to attend Saturday’s event, Detroit at Work also offers expungement services on Mondays and Tuesdays. For locations and hours, please visit https://detroitmi.gov/projectcleanslate