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Whitmer signs bills offering expungement to first-time drunken drivers

She hopes the bills allow offenders a better chance at getting jobs with a clean criminal record
Published: Aug. 24, 2021 at 11:03 AM EDT
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LANSING, Mich. (WJRT) - Drivers convicted of operating while intoxicated once can get their criminal record cleared under new bills that Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed Monday.

House Bills 4219 and 4220 offer the expungement option to 200,000 convicted drunken drivers who were not convicted of a second offense and didn’t cause a serious injury behind the wheel.

“No one should be defined by a mistake they have made in the past,” said Whitmer. “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.”

Whitmer previously vetoed legislation that would have allowed for expungement of some drunken driving offenses. But she later changed her view and signed the new legislation.

The following crimes now are eligible for expungement:

  • Operating a vehicle with a blood-alcohol content of 0.08% or more.
  • Operating a vehicle while visibly impaired.
  • A driver younger than 21 operating a vehicle a blood-alcohol content of 0.02% or more.
  • Operating a vehicle with any amount of cocaine or a Schedule 1 narcotic in their system.

First-time drunken drivers can apply for expungement five years after their probation ends. They must submit a petition to the court and a judge must rule in favor of clearing the offender’s record.

Drunken drivers who caused serious injury or death while intoxicated or committed a second operating while intoxicated offense are not eligible for expungement.

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