Clean slate for some first-time offenders
under new Michigan law

(Wednesday – August 25, 2021) - Governor Whitmer yesterday signed House Bills 4219 and 4220, which will allow for expungement of convictions for a first violation of operating while intoxicated (OWI) under certain circumstances. The bills are expected to allow an estimated 200,000 non-repeat OWI offenders to have the opportunity for a second chance at a clean record. The governor also signed legislation that continues Michigan's legal blood alcohol content (BAC) level for driving at .08, eliminating a planned sunset that would have increased the limit to .10.  

"No one should be defined by a mistake they have made in the past," said Governor Whitmer. "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."  

The bills give those with OWI convictions the option to seek expungement of their first offense five years after probation ends. Applicants must submit a petition to the court, which would be reviewed and determined by a judge. Incidents that caused death or serious injury to a victim are not eligible.  House Bill 4219 and

House Bill 4220 will allow first-time OWI offense violators to be eligible for record expungement.   

Together, the bills 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 

"Michigan is the only state in the country not to have a firm .08 Blood Alcohol Concentration limit for operating a motor vehicle," said Rep. Graham Filler. "Eliminating the sunset is not only the right thing to do, but it ensures the safety of those traveling on our roads."