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Criminal Justice & Legal System

New laws make 200K Michiganders eligible to clear first-time drunk driving convictions

close up of Gretchen Whitmer
Photo courtesy of www.senate.mi.gov/whitmer
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State Senator Gretchen Whitmer

Thousands of Michiganders could see their drunk driving convictions wiped from public view.

Legislation signed by Governor Gretchen Whitmer on Monday will allow people with one-time convictions for operating while under the influence to ask a judge to expunge that criminal record. Proponents say the changes will give people a fresh start as they apply for jobs and housing.

Doug Scoles leads Michigan’s Chapter of Mothers Against Drunk Driving, which opposes the changes.

“It sends clearly the wrong message by passing the expungement bill that we don't think alcohol impairment is that serious,” he said.

Offenses that caused death or serious injury are not eligible. The new laws take effect in six months. People who completed probation more than five years ago are eligible to apply.

Whitmer recently signed separate legislation that will prevent Michigan from raising its legal blood alcohol content for driving.

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