Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer recently vetoed a bill that would have allowed first-time drunk driving offenders to clear the conviction from their records. The bill would have allowed for judges to set aside a DUI conviction, on request, so long as the driver had not killed or seriously injured another person in a drunk driving accident.
The governor’s veto took many by surprise. The bill had passed through the state legislature with broad and bipartisan support. Gov. Whitmer had 14 days to review the bill, but quietly let that period expire without signing it. Advocates said 200,000 or more Michigan residents could have taken advantage of the provision had it gone into law.
A conviction for DUI in Michigan can carry many penalties, including license suspension, steep fines and possibly jail time. What’s more, even after a driver has paid fines, got their license back or served out a jail sentence, the penalties can carry on.
Having a conviction on one’s record can damage one’s ability to land a job or find good housing. It will almost certainly raise one’s insurance rates. For truck drivers and others who need a commercial driver’s license for work, a DUI conviction can put an end to a career.
Everyone who is accused of a crime deserves a defense. Because the penalties for DUI are so serious, those who have been accused of drunk driving offenses need to be serious about their defense.
The first thing to do is to speak with an attorney who has experience in DUI defense. If at all possible, speak to an attorney before speaking to anyone else, including the police.