By Attorney James Czarnecki|Czarnecki & Taylor PLLC|NOV 4, 2022
In this article Czarnecki & Taylor explain how to expunge a DUI conviction in Michigan. Information will include eligibility requirements for expungement, as well as guidance on the various steps involved.
What is an expungement?
First, an expungement is clearing your criminal record after meeting certain requirements under the law. This allows you to have greater opportunities when applying for jobs or housing.
There are many benefits when you expunge your Michigan DUI after five years have passed since the sentence ended. Many jobs perform criminal backgrounds before offering employment. This can be a major obstacle in finding work, but expunging your record will allow you to avoid that problem. People will be able to find employment after expunging their DUI’s because employers will not be able to see their arrest records.
If you were arrested for a Michigan DUI, expunging your record can help improve job prospects. For example, expunging a DUI from someone’s criminal record can increase how much an employer will pay them. When applying for certain jobs, expunged DUIs don’t have to be disclosed.
There are some limitations to expunged records. Your expunged record is considered sealed and cannot be seen by the public. However, law enforcement and government agencies still have access to expunged records. Although expungements do not show up when doing a standard background check, they will show up whenever applying for government jobs such as police officer or for various state licensing purposes.
What is required to successfully expunge your Michigan DUI?
House Bill 4219and House Bill 4220 allow first-time OWI offense violators to be eligible for an expungement.The laws allow for the criminal record expungement of first-time Michigan drinking and driving 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
To expunge your Michigan DUI successfully, at least five years must have passed since your last date of probation. You cannot have more than one DUI offense on your record. All court costs and fines must also have been paid in full. Any outstanding restitution should be settled before filing the expungement motion.
Once you have fulfilled all requirements needed to expunge your Michigan DUI, a motion must be filed with the appropriate court. Make sure that there are no other charges against you at this time as this may hinder your chances of expungement success.
If you were terminated from probation unsuccessfully, this may present a problem to having the conviction removed from your record. The motion will be heard by the judge that terminated you from probation. If this situation applies to you, you must consult with an attorney. An attorney will be able to develop a strategy that will convince the judge that you have made positive changes in your life.
The requirements and process of expungement are not as easy as many think. An attorney can help guide you through the extensive process. A well-qualified attorney will have plenty of experience with expungement laws and treat your case as a priority.
Judges may expunge a DUI from your record once you have satisfied all the terms of your sentence. The court considers the following:
“In making a determination whether to grant the petition to set aside a first violation the reviewing court may consider whether or not the petitioner has benefited from rehabilitative or educational programs if any were ordered by the sentencing court, or whether such steps were taken by the petitioner before sentencing for the first violation operating while intoxicated offense conviction he or she is seeking to set aside.”
The law further says that “the reviewing court may deny the petition if it is not convinced that the petitioner has either availed himself or herself of rehabilitative or educational programming or benefited from rehabilitative or educational programming he or she has completed.”
More on the expungement waiting period.
As stated earlier, there is a waiting period of either five or seven years for a first-offense OWI expungement. Most OWI expungements can be filed after 5 years, including cases where the OWI conviction occurred with a felony case of some sort.
The seven-year waiting period applies to people whose OWI convictions include concurrent felony convictions who also want to expunge those records at the same time.
The waiting period starts after you have completed all jail sentences or probationary terms, as ordered by the court. If you do not win the expungement hearing, you must wait three years before you can apply again.
Judges have broad discretion to grant or deny an OWI expungement.
Often, the biggest obstacle to a successful OWI expungement is convincing the judge to grant the motion. Under most circumstances, the motion is filed before the judge that originally handled your case. The law requires that the judge consider whether you have benefitted from any rehabilitative programs such as AA or counseling.
“In making a determination whether to grant the petition to set aside a first violation the reviewing court may consider whether or not the petitioner has benefited from rehabilitative or educational programs, if any were ordered by the sentencing court, or whether such steps were taken by the petitioner before sentencing for the first violation operating while intoxicated offense conviction he or she is seeking to set aside.”Michigan OWI expungement law
It states, “the reviewing court may deny the petition if it is not convinced that the petitioner has either availed himself or herself of rehabilitative or educational programming or benefited from rehabilitative or educational programming he or she has completed.”
To convince the court, you must present evidence that you have abstained from alcohol, drugs, and remained free of criminal charges between the time of your OWI conviction and filing of the expungement motion. Typically, the evidence used in during the expungement process resembles the evidence used to restore a driver’s license at a Michigan Secretary of State license restoration hearing. Here is an article with links on the key to winning an SOS license restoration hearing. The tips in that article, and the others, are relevant in the OWI expungement process.
Czarnecki & Taylor can help expunge your Michigan DUI.
Having your Michigan DUI expunged will allow you to legally deny that you were ever convicted of the offense when applying for new jobs, apartments, etc. You won’t be disadvantaged against other job applicants.
An experienced lawyer can expunge your Michigan DUI, making it as though the event never occurred. Here is another article we wrote to help explain the DUI expungement process.
If a Michigan DUI expungement is something you’re interested in, then it’s recommended that you hire an attorney who can help. A lawyer can speed up the process significantly. Be aware that even if you are initiating the expungement process, it’s still recommended to hire an expungement lawyer because they will have experience with expungements and will know the right questions to ask to expunge your Michigan DUI.
To learn more about how to expunge your Michigan DUI conviction call (586) 718-2345 today to schedule a free consultation with an attorney or use ouronlineform for a prompt response. We are available 24/7 and have weekend and evening appointments.