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What You Need to Know About Michigan’s New OWI Expungement Law

Sep 28, 2021, by Maurice Davis in DUI, Expungement
Beer glasses next to car key

Were you charged with and convicted of an Operating While Intoxicated charge? New legislation in Michigan now makes more than 200,000 OWI convictions eligible for expungement.

Have you spent years of your life dealing with the repercussions of an OWI conviction? Learn how you could wipe your record clean.

The New Michigan OWI Expungement Law

Before this new OWI expungement law, people who had previous convictions for OWIs were not eligible to expunge their records.

When your record is expunged, your OWI conviction won’t appear on a criminal background check. The public cannot see that you had a record, although select law enforcement agencies can.

Now, you could remove an OWI conviction after requesting expungement from the court. You have the opportunity to put the past behind you and start fresh.

Who Qualifies for OWI Expungement in Michigan?

To qualify for an OWI expungement in Michigan, individuals must:

  • Have only one prior OWI conviction
  • Wait a minimum of five years after any probationary term has ended
  • Be convicted of a non-violent OWI (did not injure or kill anyone)

This new OWI expungement law applies only to first-time, non-violent OWIs. It is at the judge’s discretion whether to approve or deny an OWI expungement request.

How to Get Your OWI Expunged in Michigan

Although applications to file for expungement won’t be filed until February of 2022, here is a rundown of the process for expungement so that you know what to expect.

  1. Pull your criminal record by ordering a copy from ICHAT
  2. Go to local police to have fingerprints taken
  3. File your application with the court clerk
  4. Mail copies of your application to the prosecutor, Attorney General, and State Police
  5. Prepare for and attend your hearing

Although this process may seem straightforward, it should not be done by yourself. An attorney ensures that your petition is complete and accurate. They can also represent you at all related court proceedings. Be aware that pulling criminal records and obtaining fingerprints may result in a small fee.

How the Court Decides to Grant Expungement

You will need to petition the court and request that the judge grants your expungement. The judge will consider several different factors when deciding whether to grant your OWI expungement petition, including:

  • Whether you participated in drug or alcohol rehabilitation
  • Whether you participated in educational programs
  • Whether you have maintained a safe driving record since your conviction
  • Whether you were charged with any other crimes since your conviction

What Happens if Expungement is Granted?

If granted, your public record will no longer reflect your OWI conviction. When you apply for jobs, housing, student aid, and other things that require you to disclose your criminal past, you will be able to answer “no” truthfully.

How to Improve Your Chances for Expungement

You must wait at least five years after probation to petition a judge for expungement. However, you can use this time as an opportunity to improve your chances for expungement:

  • Enter a driver-training program
  • Complete drug or alcohol treatment
  • Participate in community service
  • Avoid criminal activity

You want the court to review your petition favorably so that you may put an OWI conviction behind you and move forward with your life.

Get Help From a Michigan Expungement Lawyer

Michigan’s new OWI expungement law may be the chance you need to clear your record. To learn more about eligibility or get started on your petition, call an experienced Michigan criminal defense lawyer at Davis Law Group.

Call 313-818-3238 or use our online contact form to schedule your free, no-obligation consultation.