What will my lawyer ask me about at a hearing for a Michigan drunk driving expungement?

Getting a drunk driving conviction set aside can be a complicated and stressful process, especially when you will have to testify at the hearing. If you have decided to pursue this route, it’s important to understand what your lawyer will ask you at the hearing.

The things that the court will consider at the expungement hearing for your drunk driving case are (1) whether you are eligible under the statute; (2) whether you benefitted from the rehabilitative and educational programs that were ordered at the time of your sentencing; and (3) whether you engaged in rehabilitative or educational programs before you were sentenced in the operating while intoxicated case.

In most cases, judges will require testimony in order to make a determination of those factors on the record. This will require you to provide testimony during a court proceeding. Sometimes those court proceedings are in person, and sometimes they are on zoom.

Here is a direct examination checklist for set-asides of operating while intoxicated first offense convictions that your lawyer may use:

  1. Name and Place of Residence. Your lawyer will likely ask for your full name and where you currently live. It’s important to provide accurate information as this will be used to verify your identity and residency.
  2. Family Makeup. Your lawyer will ask about your family, including whether you are married, have a long-term partner, or any children. They may also inquire about your parents and extended family.
  3. Education History. Your lawyer may ask about your education history, including any degrees or certifications you have earned. This information can help show that you are a responsible and productive member of society.
  4. Employment History. Your lawyer may ask about your work history, including your current job and any past positions. They may also inquire about any awards or recognition you have received in your field. The goal of talking about your employment history may be to show that you have been resilient and prospered in your career field despite the conviction, but also may be to show how the conviction has held you back in making advancements in your career.
  5. Rehabilitative or Educational Programs. Your lawyer will want to know if you participated in any rehabilitative or educational programs following your arrest. This can include alcohol education or treatment programs. They may also ask if any of these programs were court-ordered and how you benefited from them. It may be helpful if you still have the certificates of completion or records from when you completed the rehabilitative or educational programs for your drunk driving case. You should bring them to court with you or provide them to your lawyer ahead of time. This is one of the most important factors that the judge will consider, and you’ll want to know how to articulate how you’ve benefitted from the programs that you participated in.
  6. Eligibility Questions. Your lawyer will need to confirm that you are eligible for a set-aside. This means that at least five years have passed since your conviction, you have not been convicted of any other crimes during that time, and there are no criminal charges pending against you.
  7. What was Learned from the Experience. Your lawyer may ask you what you learned from the experience of being convicted of drunk driving. This can include how it affected your life and what changes you have made to avoid similar behavior in the future.
  8. Impact on Client’s Life. Your lawyer will want to know how having the conviction has impacted your life. This can include difficulties finding employment, housing, or other opportunities.
  9. Future Plans. Your lawyer will ask about your future plans, such as career aspirations or personal goals. This information can help show that you are a motivated and responsible person.
  10. Impact on Future Plans. Your lawyer will also want to know how having the conviction could impact your future plans. This can include limitations on certain careers or difficulty obtaining professional licenses.
  11. Intent to Avoid Similar Conduct. Finally, your lawyer will ask how you intend to avoid engaging in similar conduct in the future. This can include plans to seek treatment or counseling, avoiding situations where alcohol may be present, or committing to not driving under the influence of alcohol.

Overall, the direct examination for set-asides of operating while intoxicated first offense convictions is designed to help your lawyer present the strongest case possible on your behalf. By being honest and forthcoming with your responses, you can help demonstrate that you are a responsible and productive member of society who has learned from their mistakes and is committed to making positive changes in their life.

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