After an driving under the influence (DUI) conviction, your offense will be included in your adult criminal record and can be accessed by the public. In some cases, your conviction may also be published in your local newspaper, where it can be seen by your spouse, family members, friends, colleagues – even your boss! The only way to avoid being branded with a Michigan OWI record is to fight your pending charges.
Many people are unaware that they can have an OWI record even if they are acquitted or their case is dismissed. Depending on the jurisdiction, all of the paperwork related to a drunk-driving charge may be automatically filed with the court as well as a national database. If this is the case, and your OWI is dismissed or you win at trial, then you will need an OWI defense lawyer to help expunge, or erase, these records from your file.
The federal government keeps a national database of crimes that can be accessed by state and local law enforcement agencies. This information is used to make screen potential employees, negotiate plea bargains, determine to the sentence, and make bail recommendations. This database can also be used to limit the purchase of firearms and restrict employment in education for those convicted of a felony. If you are charged with an OWI, your records will appear on this database.
Michigan OWI records can also be used to determine eligibility for certain jobs or schools. While some employers or schools will request a copy of your criminal record upfront, others can ask for authorization to conduct a background check.
The Internet is also making access to OWI records easier than ever before. Many courts allow the public to view criminal records online, which makes it easy for a curious person to find information about your OWI. Even if your local court doesn’t post records on their website, a private investigator could compile these reports for a paying customer.
Your OWI can also be reported on your driving record. Once your insurer reviews this record, your premiums may be raised or your policy could even be terminated.