The Current Law on DUI Expungements
Currently, in the state of Michigan, you cannot get a DUI conviction expunged from your criminal record. So, while the title of this article does give a reason for hope, it is still only a step towards the potential of DUI convictions being included in the list of convictions that you or someone you love may be able to finally expunge from a criminal record. Under current Michigan law, there are a few main categories of convictions that are not eligible for expungement, they include:
• DUI and other traffic convictions
• Capital convictions
• Criminal sexual conduct convictions
There has been a large bipartisan push in Michigan’s legislature towards making expungements more accessible and easier to get to allow people to escape the collateral consequences of a criminal conviction. These consequences include things such as not getting certain jobs, not qualifying to live in certain places, and not qualifying for state licensing for many professions. If you have questions about expunging your own criminal conviction(s), then it is important that you speak to an experienced expungements attorney.
How DUI Expungements Were Vetoed by the Governor
Both the Michigan House and Senate passed what is known as the “Clean Slate Legislation.” The Clean Slate Legislation is a bill that provides a massive overhaul to the entire system and law of expungements in Michigan. The legislation allows for expanded eligibility for expungements in many areas and allows for more convictions to be expunged than under the previous laws. This bill was signed into law by Governor Gretchen Whitmer in October 2020, and the new laws take effect on April 11, 2021. While Governor Whitmer signed the majority of the Clean Slate Legislation, she purposely left one part out. The Clean Slate Legislation included a provision specific to the expungements of DUIs. Since Whitmer did not want this portion of the proposal to become law, she exercised what is known as a “pocket veto.” A pocket veto is when the governor can simply not act on a bill and let the fourteen-day time limit pass where the Governor would have normally acted by either signing or vetoing the bill. Governor Whitmer did this despite the bill passing 96-8 in the state House of Representatives and 32-5 in the state Senate. By refusing to act on this part of the Clean Slate Legislation, the provision effectively died and the rest of the bill that she signed continued forward.
Michigan House of Representatives Renewed Push for DUI Expungements
The Michigan House of Representatives has continued its push towards allowing DUI expungements by passing two new bills, House Bill 4219 and House Bill 4220, by a resounding 93-17 vote. Under House Bill 4219, a DUI/OWI first offender will be able to remove their conviction as long as their conduct did not result in any death or serious injuries. Under House Bill 4220, the first offender will be able to apply for expungement from a judge. These new bills also have the support of Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel, who has stated that she would speak to Governor Whitmer in support of these bills. The next stop for House Bills 4219 and 4220 is the Michigan state Senate, where it is expected to have wide support and likely pass easily.
What Happens Next?
Before any bill becomes state law, it must first be approved by both the state House of Representatives and the state Senate. Once it is approved by both houses, then it goes to the governor’s desk for signature. If the governor signs the approved bill, it then becomes law. If the governor refuses to sign the bill, the governor will veto the bill and it will go back to where the bill was originally proposed detailing the governor’s issues with the bill. If the governor does not sign or veto the bill within fourteen days after receiving the bill, then the bill becomes law in most cases. The state House of Representatives and the state Senate have the power to override the governor’s veto but can only do so by getting two-thirds of the vote in both houses in favor of the bill, against the governor’s wishes. In this case, the next step is for the bill to be heard and voted on in the Senate, if/when that is approved, then the bill will go before Governor Whitmer for a decision. If she signs the bill, then first-time drunk driving offenders in Michigan will finally be able to seek an expungement for their convictions. If this happens, this will affect a significant number of people across the state, and the attorneys at Grabel & Associates will be ready to help you.
Call Today for a Free Consultation
At Grabel & Associates, we bring over 100 years of combined experience in defending people in DUI cases across the state of Michigan. Call us today for a free consultation at 1-800-342-7896 or contact us online.