In October of 2020, Governor Granholm signed significant changes into law regarding the types of crimes that can be expunged in Michigan. Referred to as the “most expansive version of this law in the country,” by John Cooper, executive director of Safe & Just Michigan, the new ‘automatic record clearing law’ allows Michigan to join California, Utah and Pennsylvania as states with controversial automatic clearing laws.
Under the new Michigan law, misdemeanors will be automatically expunged 7 years after sentencing, while felonies will be automatically be cleared 10 years after sentencing, or the person’s release from prison, whichever comes last. Up to 2 felonies and 4 misdemeanors can be automatically cleared for each person. But these weren’t the only changes made to Michigan’s very controversial expungement laws this year.
Some crimes can’t be expunged, but first time DUIs have made the cut!
In December, legislators in Lansing approved new bills that will expand Michigan’s expungement laws even further. Although these new laws, which go into effect in April of 2021, affect several types of criminal records, the one we’re interested in here is the impact it would have on drunk driving offenses.
Under the new law, first time DUI drunk driving convictions would be eligible for expungement. However, they would not be covered under the automatic expungement law that was passed in October. Nor would any subsequent drunk driving convictions be eligible for expungement. However, if someone had a single, first time DUI conviction on their record, the new law would allow them to file an application, asking a judge to wipe that conviction from the public record. It’s important to note that the conviction still remains visible to certain people, police, courts and government.
What does it look like to have your Michigan criminal record expunged?
So what exactly does it mean to have your criminal record expunged? Well, in Michigan, certain crimes will be automatically removed from your public record after a certain period of time has passed. But if you’re applying for an expungement of a crime that requires a judge’s review, that would mean your conviction is sealed from public view. That means only police, prosecutors, courts, and governments have access to those criminal records, but the general public doesn’t.
When you consider how a criminal record can affect your chances of getting into a good school, or getting a better job, this is very good news for people with riminal records! According to a recent study performed by the University of Michigan law school before the recent legal changes, only 6.5% of Michigan residents who qualified for expungement actually got their records cleared.
Given that the study also showed people who get their records expunged tend to get higher wages and have lower recidivism rates, it’s easy to see why it’s a big deal to so many folks in Ingham, Eaton, Barry and Jackson counties. Of course, on the flip side, many employers object to the possibility of hiring convicted criminals without an understanding of their employee’s background.
Make sure you get the best attorney to protect your future!
As we’ve pointed out many times before, the best way to not end up with a DUI on your record is to not drive drunk. But we also understand that’s a simplistic attitude when you consider the many ways a DUI arrest can get screwed up in Michigan. Between faulty breathalyzer or DataMaster machines and mistakes made by the arresting officer, there are many things that could go wrong.
With that in mind, our advice is to make sure that, no matter what, you always get the best DUI drunk driving / drugged driving defense attorney attorney you can afford. When you’ve been arrested for drunk or drugged driving, call The Kronzek Firm at 866 766 5245 (866 7NoJail) and talk to our experienced and aggressive OWI defense attorneys. We’re available 24/7 to protect your rights and defend your future.