Michigan Law prohibits driving a motor vehicle with a bodily alcohol content of 0.08 or higher. Driving under the influence (DUI) or operating a vehicle while intoxicated (OWI) carries stiff penalties. Consequences may include fines, mandatory classes, counseling, probation, loss of license, and possible jail time. Until recently Michigan DUI/OWI convictions remain on your record FOREVER. However, thanks to the 2021 Clean Slate Bill these permanent criminal records may be expunged under certain circumstances.
Michigan’s New Expungement Law
Michigan House Bills 4219 and 4220 amended Michigan’s previous record keeping regarding DUI convictions. Before this new legislation, a drunk driving conviction remains on your record forever. However, Governor Whitmer signed Bills 4219 and 4220 on August 23, 2021. As a result, the bills now have become law. The new bills amend current expungement laws for some DUI offenses. In particular, first time offenders may now be able to clear their records. Since an estimated 200,000 Michigan citizens have first time DUI’s on their record, this comes as welcome news.
Who Qualifies For Expungement?
Anyone with ONE DUI on their record may qualify for expungement. Of course, there are application requirements to clear the conviction off your record.
If you have more than one conviction you do not qualify.
After the first offense DUI sentence has been completed, you must wait five years to apply for expungement.
During the five year probationary period, you must NOT get arrested or convicted of any other crimes.
If someone was injured or killed as a result of your first time DUI conviction you are NOT eligible for expungement.
If you were convicted of drunk driving while driving a commercial vehicle using a CDL license, you may not apply to have your record expunged.
If you received a drunk driving ticket and there was a minor in the car with you, the new law does not apply.
Simply put, you must have only ONE DUI and it’s been five years since you completed your sentence for the DUI conviction.
When Can I File For Expungement? Courts will start hearing DUI Expungement cases in mid-February 2022. Since it takes time to prepare a case and obtain necessary documents, you must get ready as soon as possible. If your one time DUI sentence was completed almost five years ago, this is the time to start the process. Remember, there are approximately 200,000 people that may want to clear their records. So, it’s vital you contact an attorney as soon as possible.
The Expungement Process The expungement process is lengthy and complicated. The application contains numerous parts including a copy of your criminal record, a notarized application, and your fingerprints. Only a police station may do the fingerprints. Copies of everything must be submitted to the prosecutor, the Attorney General, and the state police. Finally, you must attend a hearing before a judge.
Do I Need An Attorney? This long, complicated process requires an experienced attorney. First of all, if you do this on your own and make a mistake, there is a three year waiting period until you may request another expungement hearing. Second, an attorney knows the process and which documents are necessary to ensure you clear the DUI off your record. Finally, the attorney’s experienced staff knows how to guide you and they know how to obtain all necessary paperwork. This alone saves you time and headaches. In conclusion, if you have one DUI/OWI conviction please contact an experienced attorney to represent your case.