Drunk Driving Expungement: A Step by Step Guide
If you have been convicted of drunk driving in Michigan, you may be wondering if there is any way to clear your criminal record. Fortunately, Michigan law provides a process for individuals to set aside certain criminal convictions, including drunk driving convictions. This process is known as a drunk driving expungement, and it can be a significant step towards moving forward with your life after a criminal conviction.
However, the process of setting aside a drunk driving conviction in Michigan can be complex and time-consuming. To help you better understand the process, we have compiled a step-by-step guide to assist you with navigating the process of a drunk driving expungement in Michigan.
The first step in the process of setting aside a drunk driving conviction in Michigan is to meet with a lawyer who specializes in expungements. During your initial meeting, your lawyer will:
- Obtain an ICHAT report for you (a background check through the Michigan State Police that will help determine your eligibility)
- Determine your eligibility for a set-aside of your conviction
- Execute a representation agreement
- Complete SCAO form MC 227 Application to Set Aside Conviction(s)
- Have you sign SCAO form MC 227 in front of a notary
- Provide you with instructions for completing fingerprinting with fingerprint card RI-008
- Give you a due date to return the fingerprint card to their office
- Provide you with instructions for gathering support letters
- Gather background information about you that they will include in your Memorandum in Support of Application to Set Aside Conviction
- Explain the process and timeline to you
Prior to Filing the Application
Once your lawyer has gathered all the necessary information, they will prepare the paperwork necessary to file for a drunk driving expungement. This includes:
- Obtaining a certified copy of the record of conviction for the conviction you are seeking to set aside
- Receiving the completed fingerprint card(s) from you
- Obtaining a hearing date from the court and completing the Notice of Hearing portion included in SCAO form 227
Filing the Application
After the paperwork has been prepared, your lawyer will file the application packet with the court. The application packet should include:
- Original signed and notarized form MC 227 Application to Set Aside Conviction(s) with completed Notice of Hearing
- Original certified record of conviction
In addition, your lawyer will send a copy of the application packet to the Michigan State Police, the prosecuting attorney’s office who prosecuted you, and the Michigan Attorney General. The application packet should include
- Copy of the signed and notarized form MC 227 Application to Set Aside Conviction(s) with completed Notice of Hearing
- Copy of certified record of conviction
- Original fingerprint card RI-008 (MSP only)
- Check in the amount of $50 payable to the State of Michigan (MSP only)
Two Weeks Prior to Hearing
Two weeks prior to the hearing, your lawyer will verify with you that they have received all support letters and any other exhibits you would like to include in the Memorandum in Support of Application to Set Aside Conviction. Your lawyer will also prepare the Memorandum in Support of Application to Set Aside Conviction with any exhibits, including support letters. They will provide copies of the memorandum to the court, the Michigan Attorney General, and the prosecuting official.
Your lawyer will also meet with you to practice your testimony. The court may consider whether or not you have benefited from rehabilitative or educational programs, if any were ordered by the Sentencing Court, and whether you engaged in rehabilitative or educational programs before sentencing. Your lawyer will also prepare the proposed Order on Application to Set Aside Conviction(s), SCAO form MC 228 so that they can provide it to the Court on the day of the hearing.
On the day of the hearing, the judge will typically require testimony about why you are seeking to set aside your drunk driving conviction, your eligibility, and information about how you have benefitted from rehabilitative and educational programs.
The prosecutor will then be given an opportunity to present their arguments against setting aside the conviction. They may argue that you have not demonstrated sufficient benefit from rehabilitation or educational programs, or that you are not eligible under the statute due to other prior convictions or the circumstances of your offense, such as a death or serious injury of the victim of a drunk driving accident.
After hearing from both sides, the judge will make a decision on whether or not to set aside the conviction. If the judge grants the petition, the original conviction will be removed from the your record, and you will be considered to have no conviction for drunk driving.
It’s important to note that setting aside a drunk driving conviction is not a guarantee, and the process can be complex and difficult. However, with the help of an experienced attorney and a strong case, it is possible to successfully petition for a set-aside and move forward with a clean record.
Following the Hearing
After the hearing, the court will issue an order either granting or denying the application to set aside the conviction. If the court grants the application, the order will specify that the conviction has been set aside and that the client is no longer considered to have been convicted of the offense.
After the order is issued, it is essential to obtain an ICHAT report for the client to verify that the conviction has been removed from their criminal history by the Michigan State Police. This can take up to a few days following the hearing. Once the cleared ICHAT report is obtained, it should be provided to the client, along with congratulations for their accomplishment in a closing letter.
If the application is denied, it is possible to appeal the decision to a higher court within a specific time frame. An attorney experienced in drunk driving expungement cases can help the client understand their options and assist with the appeals process.
Drunk driving is a serious offense in Michigan that can have significant long-term consequences for those convicted. However, Michigan law provides a mechanism for individuals with prior convictions to set aside their first-offense conviction through a process known as expungement
To be eligible for expungement, the client must meet specific criteria and follow the correct procedures outlined in the set-aside checklist above. It is essential to work with an experienced attorney to navigate this process, as even small mistakes can result in a denial of the application.
If the application is approved, it is a significant accomplishment for the client, and they will no longer be considered to have a conviction on their record. This can have far-reaching benefits for their future employment opportunities, housing, and other aspects of their life.
In summary, if you or someone you know has been convicted of drunk driving in Michigan and is interested in exploring the possibility of expungement, it is essential to consult with a knowledgeable attorney who can help guide you through the process. While it can be a complex and lengthy process, it can ultimately lead to a clean criminal record and a fresh start.
If you would like assistance with expunging your drunk driving conviction, call Blanchard Law at 616-773-2945.