LANSING, Mich. — Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on Monday signed House Bills 4219 and 4220, which will allow for expungement of convictions for a first violation of operating while intoxicated under certain circumstances.
The bills are expected to allow about 200,000 non-repeat OWI offenders to have the opportunity for a second chance at a clean record, according to a news release Tuesday.
Whitmer also signed legislation that continues Michigan legal blood alcohol content level for driving at .08, eliminating a planned sunset that would have increased the limit to .10.
“No one should be defined by a mistake they have made in the past,” Whitmer said. “These bills allow Michiganders to move on from a past mistake in order to have a clean slate. We must clear a path for first-time offenders so that all residents are able to compete for jobs with a clean record and contribute to their communities in a positive way.”
The bills give those with OWI convictions the option to seek expungement of their first offense five years after probation ends.
Applicants must submit a petition to the court, which would be reviewed and determined by a judge.
Incidents that caused death or serious injury to a victim are not eligible.
“Safe & Just Michigan thanks Gov. Whitmer for signing these popular, bipartisan bills, which represent a long-awaited chance for a fresh start for tens of thousands of Michiganders whose opportunities have been limited by a single old DUI conviction,” Safe & Just Michigan Executive Director John S. Cooper said. “Drunk driving is a serious problem in Michigan, but permanently limiting a person’s ability to work and drive based on a one-time, decades-old mistake does not make sense. People who can show that their DUI conviction was a one-time mistake should have an opportunity to make a fresh start.”
Together, the bills allow for the criminal record expungement of first-time offenses for:
- Any person operating a vehicle with a BAC of .08 or more
- Any person operating a vehicle while visibly impaired by alcohol or other controlled substance
- A person under 21 years old operating a vehicle with a BAC of .02 or more
- Any person from operating a vehicle with any bodily amount of cocaine or a Schedule 1 controlled substance