Due to Barone Defense Firm’s expertise in the field of drinking and driving, we are contacted by many persons seeking a way to prevent the public from seeing their drinking and driving convictions.
While we are committed to helping our clients in any way legally and ethically possible we currently prevented from obtaining expungements of our client’s DUI convictions because doing so is unlawful. In other words, Michigan courts are prevented from granting an expungement for an OWI or Impaired offense.
The following provides the basics of the law regarding expungements and other possible solutions to removing a conviction from your records.
Why You Can’t Expunge a DUI in Michigan:
If you have been convicted of a crime in Michigan, it may be possible for you to have your conviction made non-public.[i] While the formal description for this action is to set aside a conviction, this type of action is commonly referred to as an expungement. The advantage of an expungement is that it prevents the general public from being able to find about your conviction, which can be beneficial regarding potential applications for employment, schooling, credit, or financial aid. Once the court enters a judgment, it will be legally as though a conviction had never been entered.[ii] This can be very beneficial to our clients and the Barone Defense Firm is committed to helping alleviate the negative impact of any conviction.
The power for courts to grant an expungement is statutory in nature. In order to qualify for setting aside a conviction, certain conditions must be met. These conditions are contained in the statute and if they are not met, then the court will not have the power to grant the request. It is not an uncommon sight in court to see an expungement be denied by a judge, who otherwise would grant it, because of the failure to meet the eligibility requirements.
As for the requirements, initially, you may only request to set aside one conviction.[iii] Please note that you may only ever set aside one conviction, so if you have already had an expungement on a previous offense you would not be eligible.[iv] Additionally, if you have other convictions on your criminal record, you will likely be ineligible for expungement. However, recently the law has changed to expand the availability of expungement. On June 23, 2011, the law was amended to allow a petitioner to have convictions for up to two “minor offenses” in addition to the offense that is sought to be expunged.[v] “Minor offenses” are those that carried a maximum jail sentence of 90 days, maximum fines of $1,000.00, and were committed prior to the applicant’s 21st birthday.[vi] Also, if a prior plea resulted in an enumerated deferral program, then an actual conviction may not have been entered.[vii] If such a deferral program was entered, that charge would not preclude expungement.
Outside of the number of convictions, other conditions apply. Importantly, you must wait five years from the entry of the conviction or the last day of any jail or prison time you served for it, whichever is longer.[viii] Additionally, if the conviction carried a potential life sentence, or is a certain enumerated crime, then expungement is not available.[ix] This is the problem with attempting an expungement for a drinking and driving offense.