In The News

In The News

Tuesday, February 16, 2021

Am I Able to Expunge My OWI in Michigan? We are a half step-closer

By Michael Nichols
Categories: Michael J. Nichols

On Tuesday, February 16, 2021 on a bone-chilling and blustery winter Tuesday, Michigan DUI Attorney Mike Nichols put on his suit and tie and logged on to provide a statement by zoom to the Michigan House Judiciary Committee ... again.

Mike had given testimony just 2 months prior to both judiciary committees in the house and the senate. The subject: proposed legislation to allow someone to try to expunge a first offense OWI in Michigan. These bills have been talked about before and it was only in the session that ended in 2020 that the idea really started to get traction. DUI expungement is long opposed by Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) and the Prosecuting Attorneys Association of Michigan (PAAM). MADD and PAMM are both powerful and well-heeled lobbying entities that have always carried great cache.

"Things just felt different last year," says Nichols. He added: "it seemed as if the wave of criminal justice reform that included the 'clean slate' initiative would finally carry expungement to shore and make Michigan one of more than just a few states that allow a person to also set aside a DUI."

The House Judiciary voted on February 23rd to vote out HB 4219 and 4220. This package, which is tie-barred because 4219 will not take effect until/unless 4220 is approved, allows a person to petition the court at which your case was adjudicated (handled) for a ruling that the conviction be "set aside" also known as "expunged."

The issue at least in concept, as wide-ranging and bi-partisan support from across the spectrum of criminal justice - except for some in law enforcement but not all in law enforcement.

Nichols followed the 2 legislators, who were among co-sponsors, and then spoke on behalf of the Criminal Defense Attorneys of Michigan (CDAM). He said "it is a matter of fairness to open the economic doors for probably 200,000 people who would be eligible ... especially if we allow for the ability of people with specific intent crimes to ask to set aside convictions." After Nichols spoke - Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel spoke at length and with passion in favor of the bill.

Under MCL 780.621, a person who is granted an "expungement" has the right to state on job applications, volunteer applications and elsewhere that he has "never" been convicted of the crime or crimes that were subject to the expungement ruling. It is believed that Governor Whitmer may consider signing the bills if they are approved as expected. Last year, the governor used a "pocket" veto by not signing the bills for 14 days.

The bills now go to the full house.

-NLF News

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Peer Recognition

Mike Nichols is a national leader in drunk driving defense. He is a member of the Forensic Committee and Michigan delegate to the National College for DUI Defense. He is also a Sustaining Member of the College. Nichols is also a founding member of the Michigan Association of OWI Attorneys; a member of the American Chemical Society; an associate member of he American Academy of Forensic Science, Adjunct Professor of Forensic Evidence in Criminal Law and OWI Law and Practice at Cooley Law School. He is also author of the West OWI Practice book and several chapters in other books on science and the law.

Mike Nichols is recognized by his peers in Michigan as a “SuperLawyer” in DUI/Criminal Defense. Nichols has also been asked to speak at conferences by groups such as the NCDD; Various Bar Associations in other states.