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Gov. Whitmer signs bills allowing non-repeat OWI offenders to get a clean slate

Published: Aug. 24, 2021 at 10:58 AM EDT
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LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - First time operating while intoxicated (OWI) offenders will soon be allowed to receive a clean slate under certain circumstances, Governor Gretchen Whitmer announced after signing House Bills 4219 and 4220 yesterday.

According to the Governor’s office, there are 200,000 first time OWI offenders that would benefit from this bill, allowing them a second chance at a clean record. The bills also keeps Michigan’s legal blood alcohol content (BAC) level for driving at .08, instead of increasing to .10 on October 1, 2021.

“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 would allow for a clean slate for 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.

Offenders can seek expungement of their first offense five years after probation ends. Applicants must submit a petition to the court, which would then be reviewed by a judge. Incidents that caused death or injury are not eligible.

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