In 2020, Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed landmark legislation known as the “Clean Slate” initiative. The Clean Slate initiative vastly changed Michigan’s expungement laws, allowing more people to obtain a clean criminal record. This can make getting a job, purchasing a gun, or getting into college or a professional trade school much easier. However, at the time, those who had a Michigan OWI conviction were among the few who could not get their record expunged. Last week, that changed when Governor Whitmer signed two new bills into law.
On August 23, 2021, Governor Whitmer House Bills 4219 and 4220. Collectively, these bills allow some who have only one OWI conviction to get their record expunged. According to a recent press release from the Governor’s office, “The bills are expected to allow an estimated 200,000 non-repeat OWI offenders to have the opportunity for a second chance at a clean record.” Those who qualify for an OWI expungement must wait at least five years from the end of their probationary period.
Under the new Michigan OWI expungement laws, it does not matter whether you were convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol, prescription drugs, or illegal drugs. Similarly, for alcohol OWIs, your blood-alcohol content is not a factor in your eligibility. However, while the new laws open up the possibility of relief to many, not all OWI convictions are eligible for expungement. For example, those with more than one conviction for an OWI offense cannot get an expungement for any of their convictions. Similarly, any OWI conviction involving death or serious bodily injury cannot be expunged.
The new laws are scheduled to go into effect in February 2022. However, because the process of applying for an expungement can be complex and requires you to obtain a significant amount of records, it is advisable to get started as soon as possible. For example, just because you are eligible for an expungement does not mean that one will be granted. The court will review your actions since the conviction to determine if an expungement is appropriate. In other words, you must make the case that you deserve an expungement. The assistance of an experienced Michigan criminal defense attorney can not only make the process much easier but also increase your chances of success.
Are You Looking for a Fresh Start After an Older Michigan OWI Conviction?
If you have an old OWI conviction and are looking to clear your record, reach out to the dedicated Michigan criminal defense attorneys at Michigan Defense Law. At Michigan Defense Law, we have helped countless clients wipe their records clean of older or minor criminal convictions, giving them a fresh start. We are knowledgeable in all the recent developments in Michigan expungement laws and know how to effectively present a compelling claim on your behalf. To learn more, and to schedule a free consultation with one of our respected Michigan expungement attorneys, give us a call at 248-451-2200 today. You can also reach us through our inline contact form and we will be in touch shortly.