Legal Aid and Defender holds expungement clinic


Assisting Kelly Bidelman (center), managing attorney of Legal Aid and Defender Association’s Oakland County office, at clinic on expungement of criminal records are pro bono attorneys (l-r) Amy Kriege, Edith Blakney, Matt Anderson, Matthew Grix, Stephanie Kapoor and Stephanie Fakih. 

Photo by John Meiu

Legal Aid and Defender Association, Inc. (LAD) conducted a free clinic on expungement of criminal records for residents of Wayne, Macomb and Oakland counties in partnership with Oakland Livingston Human Services Agency (OLHSA) on Friday, Jan. 24 at OLHSA’s central office at 196 Cesar E. Chavez Ave., Pontiac.

Kelly Bidelman, managing attorney of LAD’s Oakland County office in Pontiac, conducted the clinic.
“Expungement, or setting aside a conviction, allows a person to move forward with [his or her] life without the baggage of a prior conviction or having to disclose a criminal record,” LAD’s legal rights handbook for former offenders says. 

Michigan allows for expungement, or removal from the public record, of records of single criminal convictions after five years, according to the handbook.

“The law was recently changed so if you have only one criminal conviction as an adult and two or fewer minor offenses that occurred before the age of 21 years, then you are also eligible for an expungement,” Bidelman said.

Not all convictions can be expunged, however, including those for crimes that carry possible life sentences and traffic convictions such as drunk driving, or where there is lifetime probation, the handbook says.