Gov. Whitmer gives ‘clean slate’ to one-time OWI offenders


Gov. Gretchen Whitmer visits a vaccine clinic at Garden City Hospital on Feb. 25, 2021. (Courtesy Michigan Executive Office of the Governor)

LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) — Yesterday, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed House Bills 4219 and 4220, which will allow convictions for first-time operating while intoxicated (OWI) violations to be expunged.

No one should be defined by a mistake they have made in the past. These bills allow Michiganders to move on from a past mistake in order to have a clean slate. We must clear a path for first-time offenders so that all residents are able to compete for jobs with a clean record and contribute to their communities in a positive way.” 

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer

An estimated 200,000 first-time OWI offenders will be allowed the opportunity to have a clean record.

Those with OWI convictions will be able to apply for expungement five years after probation ends. A petition must be submitted to the court, which will be reviewed by a judge.

OWI offenses that caused death or serious injury to a victim are ineligible for expungement.

According to a release from Gov. Whitmer, HB 4219 and HB 4220 allow for the criminal record expungement of first-time offenses for: 

  • Any person operating a vehicle with a BAC of .08 or more 
  • 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

In addition to HB 4219 and HB 4220, Whitmer signed House Bill 4308 and 4309 will amend the Michigan Vehicle Code and the Code of Criminal Procedure to maintain the state’s OWI presumption at a BAC level of .08. 

Michigan’s BAC legal limit was set to rise to .10 on October 1, 2021, which would cost the state millions in federal dollars. 

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