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Whitmer signs bill clarifying expungement for first-time drunken drivers

Published: Sep. 10, 2021 at 11:22 AM EDT
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LANSING, Mich. (WJRT) - Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed a bill Friday that clarifies when first-time drunken drivers can ask courts to expunge their convictions.

Senate Bill 400 requires drunken drivers with a single offense to wait at least five years after they are sentenced, complete probation, are discharged from parole or complete a prison term -- whichever happens last -- to ask courts to wipe their criminal record clean.

They must submit a petition to the court and a judge must rule in favor of clearing the offender’s record.

“In total, this legislation will help us remove barriers so that all residents are able to compete for jobs with a clean record and contribute to their communities in a positive way,” Whitmer said.

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

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.

“These bills represent a long-awaited chance for a fresh start for tens of thousands of Michiganders whose opportunities have been limited by a single old drunk driving conviction,” said John S. Cooper, executive director of Safe and Just Michigan.

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