Operating While Intoxicated (OWI) Expungement Laws

On August 23, 2021, Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed a House Bill that would allow for certain eligible people the expungement of first offense operating while intoxicated (OWI) convictions. This will give thousands of people the opportunity for a chance to have that conviction removed from your permanent record. While the House Bill was signed in August, this law officially goes into effect on February 19th, 2022.

This new law will allow people with first offense OWI convictions to apply for an expungement five years after you were sentenced, your probation ended, or when you were released from jail, whichever happened latest.

There are certain drunk driving convictions that are not eligible to have removed from your record, such as drunk drivings causing causing death or serious injury to victims. If you have more than one operating while intoxicated conviction you are not eligible to have either removed from their record. The offenses that are eligible for potential expungement include:

  • Any person operating a vehicle with a Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) of .08 or more. 
  • Any person operating a vehicle with a Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) of .17 or more (High Blood Alcohol Content or “Superdrunk”).
  • 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.

Under the new law, you will not be eligible for an expungement if you have already had a first offense expunged, or if you have more than one OWI conviction (or any of the above related offenses) on your record.

An applicant will become ineligible if they are convicted of any misdemeanor or felony during the required waiting period. In addition, an applicant cannot have a pending criminal case while their petition for expungement is pending with the court. This means any minor criminal offense during the waiting period will reset the clock on eligibility.

We highly recommend you continue to read up on the new expungement laws, or contact our office with questions about eligibility.


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