Michigan lawmakers advance bill to expunge first-time drunken-driving convictions

click to enlarge Michigan lawmakers advance bill to expunge first-time drunken-driving convictions

The state House is renewing its bipartisan push to allow for the expungement of first-time drunken driving convictions.

The Michigan House Judiciary Committee on Tuesday agreed to advance the bill to the full House for a vote.

The committee’s 11-2 vote comes less than two months after Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, without an explanation, exercised a "pocket veto" by failing to sign the bill by the deadline.

Under the legislation, first-time drunken-driving offenders would be able to ask a judge for expungement, which clears the public record of a conviction so it’s not detected in a background check. The idea is to offer a fresh start for first-time offenders.

Expungement would not be automatic.

Sarissa Montague, a criminal defense attorney with Kalamazoo-based Levine & Levine Attorneys at Law, said expungement would be an “important milestone.”

“I strongly believe that those with a one-time offense of operating a vehicle while intoxicated should be eligible to clear their records,” Montague said in a statement.

If passed, as many as 200,000 Michigan residents would be eligible for expunging their first-time drunken driving conviction.

In October, Whitmer signed a “clean slate” bill that allows residents convicted of many pot-related crimes to have an opportunity to clear the offenses from their criminal record.

Stay on top of Detroit news and views. Sign up for our weekly issue newsletter delivered each Wednesday.

About The Author

Steve Neavling

Steve Neavling is an award-winning investigative journalist who operated Motor City Muckraker, an online news site devoted to exposing abuses of power and holding public officials accountable. Neavling also hosted Muckraker Report on 910AM from September 2017 to July 2018. Before launching Motor City Muckraker,...
Scroll to read more Metro Detroit News articles


Join Detroit Metro Times Newsletters

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.