DUI pardons: a how to guide for beginners

There was much public uproar, fed by a scandalized media, after it was discovered that in December of last year, Governor Snyder extended a rare DUI pardon. The beneficiary of this rather unusual generosity was none other than Alan Gocha Jr., a politically connected defense attorney from Oakland County. But now another attorney has decided to jump on the bandwagon by creating the state’s first ever “how to guide” for getting a DUI pardoned by the governor.

Birmingham attorney Patrick Barone, whose firm focuses on drunk driving cases, has created a website called pardonmydui.com, which helps Michigan residents apply for a DUI pardon from the governor.

Gocha was arrested in Bloomfield Township back in 2007 for drinking and driving. At the time of the arrest he lied to the officers about his alcohol consumption and refused to take a roadside sobriety test. An hour later he relented and submitted to a Breathalyzer test at the police station. His BAC was 0.11.

Barone’s website opens with a succinct explanation of the facts. “Governor Snyder’s power to grant pardons comes straight out of the Michigan Constitution. This power is vast, but is subject to limitations by statute.  However, drunk driving, or Michigan DUI is currently among the various criminal offenses for which our Governor can grant a pardon.”

And then it goes on to explain everything a person could possibly want to know about getting a pardon from the Governor. But is it really even possible to be pardoned for a DUI conviction? Yes, it actually is. But it hardly ever happens, which is why most people don’t even know it can happen. After all, Gocha’s gubernatorial DUI pardon was one of only eleven pardons the Governor handed out at the end of his first term.

But don’t get too excited – a DUI is also one of the only convictions on a person’s record that can be expunged by a judge. Most other crimes are with you for the rest of your life. It is also worth noting that the Governor doesn’t decide on his own which DUI’s to expunge. All the applications are reviewed by the parole board, who decide whether or not a case should be pursued. Most cases are rejected right out of the gate.

For those who are interested in what exactly Gocha’s application contained, the website also provides a copy of Gocha’s actual application, complete with his handwritten explanation of events, for you to read.

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