Having a DUI conviction on your criminal record can cause many personal setbacks, such as difficulty finding a job or earning certifications for certain types of careers. Fortunately, the state of Michigan allows some DUI offenders to expunge the conviction from their record. This, in turn, grants offenders the opportunity to move on with their lives without a criminal record holding them back.
Experienced Michigan DUI attorney Shaun R. Marks has a long track record of helping his clients get their lives back on track following DUI convictions through expungement and driver’s license restoration. If you are interested in removing a DUI from your record in Michigan, contact Shaun today to learn more about the process in a free consultation.
Michigan’s New “Clean Slate” Expungement Law
In 2021, Michigan’s state legislature passed a new law expanding eligibility for expungement of DUIs and other misdemeanor convictions. Before this Clean Slate law, someone convicted of DUI in Michigan had that conviction on their criminal record forever. However, Michigan House Bills 4219 and 4220 were amended in April 2021 to allow first-time offenders to expunge DUI convictions from their criminal records.
In addition to expanding eligibility for expungement petitions, this new law includes a process that automatically seals certain types of non-violent convictions if you have gone seven years without a conviction for misdemeanors, or ten years for felonies. This automatic expungement statute went into effect in April 2023.
Eligibility for a DUI Expungement
In Michigan, DUI expungement is only available to those with one DUI on their record. Additionally, you must wait five years after completing your sentence before applying for expungement. During this five-year waiting period, you may not be arrested or convicted of any other offense. If your DUI involved in an accident that left someone else injured or dead, you are not eligible for expungement. CDL drivers who were charged with driving drunk while operating a commercial vehicle are also ineligible for expungement, along with those who were charged while a minor was in the vehicle with them.
Which DUI Offenses Are Eligible For Expungement?
The state of Michigan has several criminal offenses related to driving under the influence. While the term DUI is often used here, the legal term used in Michigan is OWI, or operating while intoxicated. The following types of drunk driving convictions are eligible for expungement in Michigan:
- Operating while intoxicated (OWI)
- Operating while visibly impaired (OWVI)
- Operating in the presence of a controlled substance (drugs in the car)
- Operating under the influence of both alcohol and controlled substances
- Operating with a high BAC
- Minor arrested with any BAC under the zero tolerance law for minors
- Allowing an intoxicated person to operate a motor vehicle
Applying For a DUI Expungement
Applying for a DUI expungement is often a complicated process, as you are required to file an application and submit several documents alongside the application. Here is a breakdown of the application process for DUI expungement in Michigan:
- Fill out an application to set aside the conviction
- Get a certified order of conviction from the court where you were convicted
- Get fingerprinted
- Purchase a $50 money order made out to the Michigan State Police
- File the application and conviction order with the court where you were convicted, and send them to the Michigan Attorney General’s Office and the office of the prosecutor where the conviction occurred.
DUI Expungement Hearings
After the court receives your application, it will schedule a hearing date before the judge who presided over your original DUI case. In cases where that judge has retired or is otherwise unable to take the case, a new judge will review the application.
The judge has total discretion over whether or not to approve the expungement. Some judges may request proof that shows you have abstained from alcohol completely following your conviction, while others may grant the expungement as long as you have not gotten into any additional legal trouble.
Because this process can vary so significantly depending on the judge, it’s important to know what to expect from the judge who will review your application. An experienced Michigan DUI lawyer who knows local judges can help you understand what to expect and what you may need to prove to successfully expunge the DUI conviction from your record.
If the expungement request is denied, the applicant typically needs to wait three years before reapplying. However, the judge also has the discretion to shorten this waiting period if they see fit.
How Long Until My Record Is Expunged?
The processing time for an expungement application varies depending on the court where it is filed. But according to the State of Michigan, the full process can take as long as eight months.
Some courts schedule hearings three months or more after the application was filed to give the State Police and Attorney General sufficient time to complete background checks and determine whether the applicant is eligible. If these parties do not complete these steps before the scheduled hearing date, the hearing may be rescheduled.
Some courts may also still have hearing backlogs due to the COVID-19 pandemic. To get a better idea of how long the process may take, consider contacting the court where you are filing your application or an experienced Michigan DUI lawyer.
Michigan DUI Expungement FAQ
Can I Expunge a Michigan Conviction If I Live in Another State?
Yes, you may expunge a Michigan conviction if you now live in another state. A Michigan DUI expungement lawyer can handle a large portion of your paperwork and keep you updated throughout the process. In most cases, you will only need to visit Michigan to attend your hearing.
Can Felonies Be Expunged in Michigan?
Yes – under the new Clean Slate law, up to two felonies may be automatically expunged ten years after the date of sentencing or the completion of time in prison, whichever was more recent. Like misdemeanor offenses, expungement is only available if the individual has no other criminal convictions in those ten years.
Expungement is also limited to certain types of offenses. Traffic offenses involving injuries or death, OWI convictions, and CDL license violations do not qualify for automatic expungement. Other ineligible offenses include violent crimes, serious misdemeanors, crimes of dishonesty like counterfeiting and forgery, offenses that carry a prison sentence of ten or more years, and crimes involving minors, vulnerable adults, injuries, serious impairments, death, or human trafficking.
Contact a Michigan DUI Expungement Lawyer to Learn More
If you have a conviction for OWI or another Michigan drunk driving offense on your criminal record, it does not need to set you back for life. For first-time offenders, an expungement can help avoid barriers to employment and other personal difficulties associated with a criminal record.
Experienced Michigan DUI defense lawyer Shaun R. Marks helps clients in all stages of the criminal justice process, from defending against charges to expunging convictions and restoring driver’s licenses. Contact Shaun R. Marks today to learn more about the expungement process in a free consultation.
Attorney Shaun Marks had received his Juris Doctor degree with Cum Laude honors from the Detroit College of Law in 1994. He received his undergraduate degree in Criminal Justice from the University of Michigan-Flint. He has served in the U.S. Air force Security Police and as an Assistant city Attorney for the City of Flint. He has also worked in the office of former U.S. Senator Donald Riegle. Attorney Marks has successfully represented thousands of clients in criminal matters in state and federal courts across Michigan.