Law would give first-time drunk drivers a chance at expungement

On Behalf of | Jul 1, 2021 | Drunk Driving |

In Michigan, drivers who are accused of operating while intoxicated (OWI) must remember the litany of consequences they may face in the aftermath. Among the penalties that can be assessed are fines, jail time, community service, a driver’s license suspension, points on the driver’s license and more. This is just for a first-time offense. Subsequent offenses will enhance the penalties. In addition, a conviction for OWI after using alcohol or drugs can result in problems getting certain jobs, being admitted to schools and cause disfavor in the community. Finding options is key and a recently proposed law may help.

Expungement for first-time OWI passed by Michigan Senate

Michigan lawmakers are trying to move forward with a bill that would give first-time OWI offenders a chance at expungement. This means a conviction would be set aside and no longer be part of the person’s record nor viewable by the public. Both the Michigan House of Representatives and the Senate have approved. It needs to be signed by the governor to become law. According to the architects of the bill, the goal is to provide people who have made a mistake and gotten an OWI to clear their record. Elected officials from both parties are supportive and hope that it will be signed into law.

Understanding OWI and possible options to deal with the case

Making a mistake by using drugs or drinking and getting behind the wheel can cause major disruptions in that person’s life personally, financially and professionally. The details of a case can vary. Perhaps there was an auto accident and people were injured or lost their lives. There might have been a law enforcement officer who saw a driver weaving in and out of lanes and was simply acting suspiciously. Or it could have been initiated by a crackdown police agencies sometimes use to dissuade drivers from drinking or using drugs and driving. The level of alcohol in the system, the reason the officer made the stop and other factors weigh heavily in a case.

Professional representation is key with OWI charges

Although expungement will help many people who have a prior conviction for OWI after drugged or drunk driving and have avoided another arrest, it remains important to remember the value of a strong defense from the start. If the evidence is deemed questionable, the driver had a viable reason for appearing to be under the influence or if there are alternatives in lieu of punishment, it is beneficial to explore the possible ways to avoid having the OWI on the record. For any situation involving allegations of OWI, having professional representation is important to achieve a positive outcome.