In our roles as Michigan DUI lawyers, clients always ask us about what will go on (and what can come off) their records. In this article, I want to look at the consequences to a person’s record as the result of ANY alcohol-related traffic conviction. Recently, the Michigan legislature passed a bill to allow for the expungement (technically, the set-aside) of a conviction for at 1st offense OWI (DUI) from a person’s criminal record, but it was not signed into law by the governor, so our discussion here will focus on how things stand now.
One specific question my team and I get asked rather often is whether or not a DUI is a traffic offense, or a criminal charge. The simple answer is that it’s both. Technically speaking, a DUI is a criminal traffic offense because it carries a potential jail sentence, and therefore goes on both a person’s criminal and driving records. By contrast minor traffic offenses, such as speeding, are “civil infractions,” which means they’re not punishable by jail and only carry the potential of a fine and points that can be assessed upon a person’s driving record.
If a person is convicted of a criminal traffic offense, like a DUI, an entry will be made on both his or her criminal record, and his or her driving record. This makes sense when we break it down a bit more: a criminal conviction that does not involve driving or carry any potential driver’s license sanctions will only go on a person’s criminal record. A conviction for a minor traffic offense (like making a prohibited right turn at a red light) that carries no potential jail sentence is classified as a civil infraction, and will only go on someone’s driving record.