Michigan Gov. Whitmer Vetoes Bill to Let 1-time DUI Offenders Clear Record
A bill with broad bipartisan support in our Legislature to let one-time drunken drivers ask a judge to set aside their conviction, died after the 14 day review period expired for Governor Whitmer. She made no moves on this legislation allowing it to die, with no reasons offered. The Senate passed it 32-5 and the House as well 96-8.
“I am incredulous,” said Rep. Graham Filler, of DeWitt, who chaired the House Judiciary Committee last term. He said the governor's pocket veto came “out of nowhere." The bill was supported by top officials including Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel and state Supreme Court Chief Justice Bridget McCormack — both Democrats — and former House Speaker Lee Chatfield, a Republican. Michigan currently does not allow someone to petition a court to set aside a conviction for operating a vehicle while intoxicated. The bill would have lifted that prohibition for a first-time offender except if he or she caused another person's death or serious impairment of a bodily function.
Filler also noted that the Governor last October approved sweeping “clean slate” legislation, which after a number of years would set aside a certain number of criminal records automatically. This action would simplify the process for individuals convicted of marijuana offenses. This current measure would not have caused automatic expungement of persons with DUI convictions, as it would have to be reviewed by a judge before a decision is made.
Persons that get an expungement, or set aside in Michigan, manipulates their public record so their conviction will not appear in a background check. However law enforcement does keep a non-public record, but you would no longer have to disclose these issues on an employment application or any other form that inquires about a criminal record. In 2019 Michigan State Police made about 30,000 cases for persons operating under the influence. As laws change in our state, like the legalization of marijuana, it’s important to grant freedom to those who are confined in prisons for nonviolent marijuana offenses. It’s the right thing to do, because it’s no longer illegal in the state of Michigan. Everyone deserves a second chance.