Attorney DeBruin represents clients from across lower Michigan.

Attorney DeBruin represents clients from across lower michigan.

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Expungement for drunk driving offenses in Michigan

On Behalf of | Apr 11, 2022 | OWI

Being charged with a criminal violation in Michigan has many consequences that can negatively impact a person’s life. From jail time to fines to long-term implications, it is beneficial to try and find workable solutions to these challenges. During the case, that means an effective criminal defense. After there has been a conviction, there are options to have a criminal conviction removed from the person’s record through an expungement. This is especially useful for people who have had no prior issues with the law. Often, this is related to traffic violations like drunk driving.

People with a single drunk driving offense can have their records expunged

Fortunately for people in Michigan, a new expungement law for drunk drivers was recently enacted. Statistically, around 200,000 people who have a drunk driving conviction could receive an expungement if five years have passed. They are required to have been free from any other legal issues in that time-frame. The law was signed in August of 2020. It became effective in February 2021.

There are caveats with the law and not everyone is eligible for an expungement. If the conviction stemmed from a drunk driving accident and there were injuries or fatalities, there cannot be an expungement. In addition, if the incident involved a holder of a commercial driver’s license, they drove a commercial vehicle at the time or there was a child younger than 16 in the vehicle, there cannot be an expungement.

The judge will assess the person’s record to see if there were other arrests in the five-year interim. They might also want to know about the person’s current drinking habits, if they took part in rehabilitation for a drinking problem and if they are now abstinent. The judge can then grant the expungement.

A fresh start

Drunk driving is frequently a person’s first experience with the legal system. It is worrisome for college students, working professionals, blue-collar employees and others who might simply have made a mistake and got behind the wheel after drinking. With these cases, it is important to forge a strong criminal defense and try to reduce the charges or get an acquittal. After there has been a conviction, the case can follow a person around and hinder them educationally, personally and professionally. To avoid that, an expungement could be helpful. Discussing the situation with those experienced in these cases can craft a strategy to move forward without the onus of a conviction.