Michigan Expunges First Time Drunk Driving Records

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Michigan Expunges First Time Drunk Driving Records

Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer has signed House Bill 4220, giving first-time drunk driving offenders the chance to have their convictions expunged. This legislation will also apply to people convicted of driving under the influence of other Schedule I controlled substances.

The Governor issued a statement concerning the bill, saying that the bill will give individuals benefiting from the bill’s provisions the chance to move on from offenses in their past. The governor also claimed that it would help clear a path for first-time offenders to compete with other residents that have a clear record for employment.

Though the bill will potentially give approximately 200,000 individuals convicted of an operating while intoxicated (OWI) offense a chance to have their conviction expunged, not everyone may actually have their record of the offense expunged. The bill provides that individuals convicted of a single OWI violation will be able to ask a judge to remove the public record of the conviction so that it will not be picked up during a background check.

However, this will not be an automatic process, and individuals will have to file a petition with a court in order to request the expungement. After this, a judge will have the final say on whether the record will actually be expunged and are capable of considering circumstances of rehabilitation and other factors before making their decision. 

In addition, OWI accidents that result in death, serious injury, or child endangerment will not be eligible for expungement. Also, commercial drivers that were operating a commercial vehicle when the offense was committed will not be able to have their record of the offense expunged.

The particular offenses this new legislation will apply to include:

  • Operating a motor vehicle with a blood-alcohol level of 0.08 or above;
  • Operating a motor vehicle under the influence of any quantity of a Schedule I drug or cocaine;
  • Operating a motor vehicle while impaired by alcohol or other controlled substances;
  • Permitting an intoxicated individual to operate a motor vehicle;
  • Operating a motor vehicle under the age of 21 with a blood alcohol level of 0.02 or above.

Petitions for expungement can be made starting from three to five years after the latest of these three events: the date of sentencing, the completion of probation or discharge from parole, or the completion of any term of incarceration related to the conviction which is to be expunged. The legislation will allow people to begin filing for expungement starting on February 19th, 2022.