You already know that drunk driving—that is, operating while intoxicated (OWI)—is illegal in Michigan. You can get an OWI if you are driving under the influence of alcohol and/or your blood-alcohol content (BAC) is 0.08 or greater.
An OWI can have a negative effect on your life. You could find it difficult to find a job or housing if you have an OWI on your record.
Michigan law recognizes these difficulties and sometimes allows for expungements of OWIs.
What is an expungement?
An expungement, or “set-aside,” is a way to have a past criminal conviction removed from your criminal record. This means that, except for police, other people—including employers and landlords—cannot see these criminal convictions on a background check.
Still, there are limits on what convictions can be stricken through expungement. For example, not all first-time OWI convictions in Michigan are eligible to be set aside.
What are some limits on OWI expungements?
There are some limits on OWI expungements.
For example, only one OWI offense can be expunged within your lifetime. If you have more than one OWI conviction, none can be set aside. And, significantly, if your OWI offense caused someone to be injured or lead to a death, it cannot be set aside.
Laws on OWI causing death or serious impairment
Michigan statutes state that if you cause someone to suffer serious impairment of a body function because you were driving drunk, you are guilty of a felony. Penalties are greater if your BAC was 0.17 or greater.
So, while there are ways to have an OWI set aside in Michigan, not all OWIs can be expunged. You will want to learn more about your conviction and state law to determine if seeking an expungement is a possibility.