Alcohol and Other Drug-Impaired Driving
According to NHTSA, 11,654 people were killed in alcohol-impaired traffic crashes in 2020, a 14.3% increase from 2019. Alcohol-impaired driving fatalities made up 30% of all traffic fatalities. The total number includes 7,831 (67%) fatalities in crashes with at least one driver who had a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level of .15 or higher. NHTSA also reports that the increase in numbers of alcohol-impaired drivers included drivers of all vehicle types except for van drivers, whose numbers decreased by 13% from 2019 to 2020.
With the increase in alcohol-impaired driving fatalities in 2020, impaired driving remains a major traffic safety and public health issue for states. NHTSA’s data show that in 2020, an average of one alcohol-impaired-driving fatality occurred every 45 minutes. Drivers aged 21 to 24 and 25 to 34 had the highest percentage of alcohol-impaired drivers involved in fatal crashes—26%--compared to other age groups. The annual cost of alcohol-impaired crashes, including alcohol-impaired drivers, bicyclists and pedestrians is estimated at $44 billion.
Additionally, state percentages of alcohol-impaired driving fatalities among total traffic fatalities ranged from a low of 21% in the District of Columbia, Mississippi, and Utah to a high of 45% in Montana in 2020, compared to the national average of 30%.
According to NHTSA, in 2019 American Indians and Alaska Natives had the highest percentage of alcohol-impaired driving fatalities among all racial and ethnic populations. The Bureau of Indian Affairs reports that 43.3% of traffic fatalities between 2009 and 2013 that occurred on Native American reservations involved alcohol.
Driving under the influence of drugs and polysubstance-impaired driving—driving after using a mix of drugs or a combination of drugs and alcohol--also contributes to the steadily increasing number of impaired driving crashes. CDC reports that 12.6 million Americans reported driving under the influence of marijuana or other illicit drugs in 2018. Additionally, NHTSA found that drug use among fatally injured drivers who were tested rose from 25% in 2007 to 42% in 2016, and marijuana presence doubled in this time frame. While the use of drugs does not necessarily indicate impairment, the agency’s research shows that drugs can impact cognitive and psychomotor tasks associated with driving.
While these studies provide a good picture of impaired-driving in the United States in recent years, drivers showed a significantly higher overall drug prevalence during the COVID-19 public health emergency. Two studies released by NHTSA suggest that the pandemic exacerbated risky driving behavior, including alcohol, drug and polysubstance-impaired driving.
NHTSA collected data in trauma centers to examine the prevalence of alcohol and other drugs in the blood of seriously or fatally injured drivers and other crash victims before (Sept. 10, 2019 - March 16, 2020) and during (March 17, 2020 – July 18, 2020) the COVID-19 public health emergency. While drug prevalence was high among seriously and fatally injured roadway users before, the results indicate it increased during the public health emergency, especially for alcohol, marijuana and opioids. Roughly 65% of drivers tested positive for at least one drug (including alcohol) and 25.3% for two or more compared to 50.8% and 17.6% before the COVID-19 pandemic. The study also found that 32.7% of drivers tested positive for marijuana in comparison with 28.3% who tested positive for alcohol. Opioid use almost doubled, increasing from 7.5% to 13.9%.
The second NHTSA study included updated data from October to December 2020 and revealed that increased rates of alcohol and other drug presence in drivers observed persisted during this period.
To better understand public opinions and behaviors regarding traffic safety, AAA publishes an annual Traffic Safety Culture Index. The 2020 index reveals that 94% of drivers perceive driving after drinking as very dangerous or extremely dangerous. Among surveyed participants, 5.9% admitted to driving after consuming enough alcohol that they believed they might be over the legal limit, a 3.9% decrease from the previous year. Survey participants ages 25 to 39 made up the highest proportion—7.4%—of drivers of any age range who perceived that their alcohol level might have been close or possibly over the legal limit in the past 30 days. Over 50% of respondents support lowering the legal BAC limit from .08% to .05%
AAA’s index reveals a significant disparity between perceptions of alcohol use and marijuana use before driving as only 69% of respondents consider driving shortly after using marijuana to be very or extremely dangerous. The index also found that 77% of survey participants support making it illegal to drive with a certain amount of marijuana in a person’s system; however, this is a significant decrease in support from 84% in 2019. Most (87.0%) respondents believe driving after using potentially impairing prescription drugs is very or extremely dangerous.
The federal government, states and traffic safety organizations are continually examining and implementing interventions and new technologies to combat alcohol-impaired driving.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse, or online database, gives employers, state driver’s licensing agencies and state law enforcement officers real-time information about commercial driver’s license (CDL) and learner’s permit holders’ drug and alcohol violations. Beginning Jan. 6, 2023, all employers will be required to query the database before permitting current and prospective employees to operate a commercial motor vehicle on the roads. Between January 2020, when reporting requirements went into effect, and December 2021, the clearinghouse identified 108,780 positive tests for substance abuse violations by commercial drivers.
NHTSA released its latest version of Countermeasures that Work: A Highway Safety Countermeasure Guide for Highway Safety Offices (SHSOs) in 2021. The guide includes summaries of the effectiveness, cost and implementation time for countermeasures that may address a variety of traffic safety issues such as impaired driving. The resource lists administrative license revocation or suspension, sobriety checkpoints and ignition interlock device installation as effective countermeasures to combat impaired driving, to name a few.
Maryland became the second state in 2019, after Virginia in 2018, to pilot the Driver Alcohol Detection System for Safety (DADSS) Program. This program, a public-private partnership research project between the Automotive Coalition for Traffic Safety and NHTSA, aims to develop a non-invasive, seamless technology that would use small programmable sensors built inside vehicle panels to measure the BAC in a driver’s breath. Drivers whose BAC is above the set limit would be unable to move the vehicle. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) released a study in 2020 suggesting that the technology has the potential to save more than 9,000 lives when added to all new vehicles.
According to AAA’s 2020 Traffic Safety Culture Index, 70% of respondents somewhat or strongly supported a law requiring all new cars to have built-in technology such as DADSS that would prevent a driver with an over-the-limit BAC from starting and driving the vehicle.
The Utah legislature became the first and only state to lower its impaired driving per se BAC limit, in 2018, from the national standard of .08% to .05%. NHTSA’s evaluation of Utah’s law reveals that Utah’s fatal crash rate (the number of crashes resulting in someone’s death) dropped by 19.8% and the fatality rate (the number of people killed in crashes) decreased by 18.3% between 2016, the last full year before voters approved to lower the BAC limit, and 2019. Comparatively, the rest of the United States showed a 5.6 % fatal crash rate reduction and 5.9% fatality rate reduction. Utah’s neighboring states—Arizona, Colorado and Nevada—did not show similar levels of improvement in fatal crash and fatality rates.
Despite a more stringent BAC standard, NHTSA reports that alcohol-impaired driving arrests did not increase markedly after the law went into effect, as some had feared. Additionally, NHTSA’s analysis reveals that in 2019, more than 22% of alcohol consumers indicated that they had changed their behaviors such as ensuring a sober ride was available once the law went into effect.
NCSL’s Drugged Driving/Marijuana-Impaired Driving webpage provides a detailed and up-to-date overview on state interventions to reduce and prevent all forms of impaired driving.
Lawmakers in 48 states considered over 450 bills related to alcohol and drug-impaired driving in 2021. Approximately 100 bills were enacted by 38 states. Laws addressed ignition interlock devices and restricted driving privileges, implied consent and testing, penalties, 24/7 sobriety and drug monitoring programs and treatment programs, sealing and expungement of records, among other topics.
Ignition Interlock Devices and Restricted Driving Privileges
Ignition Interlock Devices (IIDs) are connected to the starter or other on-board computer system in a motor vehicle to prevent the car from being operated if a set level of alcohol is detected on the driver’s breath. Most devices require random retesting while the car is running to ensure that the driver is not drinking once the car is started. Courts often require the use of IIDs for drivers convicted of a DUI. During sentencing, an offender whose driver’s license has been suspended or revoked can be granted limited driving privileges if an IID is installed in the vehicle(s) they use.
NHTSA data shows that IIDs reduce recidivism among first-time and repeat offenders, including high-risk offenders. However, once IIDs were removed from a repeat or high-risk offender’s vehicle, the offender’s recidivism rates increased. Offenders with higher rates of failed BAC tests were also found to have higher rates of recidivism once their IID was removed. In contrast, a CDC study of a Florida policy mandating alcohol treatment for DUI offenders using interlocks did find decreased recidivism. Offenders who accumulated three interlock violations—defined as two occasions within four hours in which the device prevented the driver from starting the vehicle—were required to participate in alcohol use disorder treatment. Recidivism among such offenders was reduced by 32% after the device was removed, compared to the control group that did not receive treatment.
IIDs are a common impaired driving intervention considered by state legislatures over the years. Since 2011, all 50 states have passed legislation that allows or requires the use of IIDs for certain drunk driving offenses—from drivers who refuse to submit an impaired driving chemical test to first-time, repeat and/or high BAC offenders. Thirty states and the District of Columbia have laws requiring all offenders, including first-time offenders, to install an IID.
An additional eight states—Florida, Michigan, Minnesota, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina and Wyoming—require high BAC offenders—trigger levels range between .1 and .17—and repeat offenders to install IIDs. Five states—Georgia, Ohio, Massachusetts, Maine and Missouri—require only repeat offenders to install the devices. The remaining seven states do not have any statewide requirements regarding IIDs, but judges have the discretion to order offenders to install one if they consider it necessary. In California, IIDs are required for all offenders in some counties.
Laws in some states provide for restricted driver’s licenses for DUI offenders in addition or alternative to an IID, or as a substitute to having the license suspended. People with a restricted license are limited on where and when they can drive.
At least 10 states—Hawaii, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Maine, Minnesota, Nevada, North Carolina, Rhode Island, and West Virginia—enacted legislation regarding ignition interlock devices and restricted, suspended or revoked driving privileges in 2021.
Hawaii (SB 765) enacted legislation to clarify that DUI offenders must install an IID in vehicles registered under their name in addition to all vehicles they operate during the applicable period of license revocation. Additionally, first-time high BAC (.15 or above) offenders are subject to a driver’s license revocation period of two years, or 18 months if the offender installs an IID. The bill increases the revocation period for offenders with one previous alcohol related offense from 18 months to two years and from two to four years for offenders with two or more offenses. Additionally, the new law increases the lookback period for offenders with one or more previous offenses from five to 10 years.
Hawaii (SB 153) also established an impaired driving prevention council within the department of transportation to examine strategies to reduce impaired driving and the effectiveness of the state’s IID program. The council will include legislative, judicial and executive branch members along with traffic safety and public health officials from the public and private sector. The council must submit an annual report to the legislature on any findings and recommendations.
Idaho (HB 241) clarified its process for issuing waivers for IID installments by allowing an offender to file a waiver petition within 30 days of the installation order if there is no civil or criminal case pending related to the order to install the IID. The law previously provided that a court could waive the IID requirement if it found that the person did not present a danger to the public or there were circumstances that demonstrated an IID installation was unnecessary.
Indiana (HB 1084) enacted legislation to allow the court to issue an IID in certain DUI cases as an alternative to driver’s license suspension.
Iowa (HF 757) amended its impaired driving law to provide a temporary restricted license (TRL) to certain first time DUI offenders if they install an IID in all vehicles that they operate. Previous law specified first time offenders must install an IID in all motor vehicles they own to obtain a TRL. The bill also removes the state’s prohibition against issuing a TRL to an individual serving a driver’s license sanction for driving while their license was revoked or suspended.
Maine (LD 1433) removed the prescribed period, which could be up to four years depending on the previous number of offenses, that a first-time or repeat DUI offender must install an IID to remain eligible for a restricted driver’s license. Rather, the new law states that an offender must maintain and operate an IID in their vehicle for the length of suspension time remaining.
Minnesota (HF 63) passed legislation to issue individuals a restricted license if they comply with the terms of their license suspension and install an IID in their vehicle. Individuals who possess two DUIs on their record over 10 years or three within their lifetime, must install an IID for one year. Individuals who refuse a BAC test or test with an alcohol concentration that is twice the legal limit are required to install an IID for two years. The bill also requires offenders participating in the IID program to purchase new regular registration plates rather than the commonly required special registration plates for DUI offenders.
Additionally, the legislative auditor must submit a final report to the legislature on the fiscal impact of the state’s IID program, an IID’s efficacy reducing recidivism and any impact on public safety by January 15, 2025.
Nevada (AB 427) amended its IID law to require the Department of Motor Vehicles to issue an IID license rather than the previously issued restricted license for individuals who qualify for an IID. The law also establishes a revocation period based on an individual’s number of offenses for driving without a required IID and whether an individual has tampered with their device.
Nevada (AB 400) also enacted legislation to specify that commercial driver’s license (CDL) holders 18 years or older who drive with a BAC of .04 or more but less than .08 or any detectable substance in their blood or urine such as marijuana are subject to a CDL or CDL permit suspension for one year. The new law also removes the two nanogram per se limit for tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the component that gives cannabis its psychological effects, and the five nanogram limit for its metabolite for misdemeanor offenses. However, the law maintains that the per se limits for THC still apply for felony violations. Such offenses are determined by factors including the number of previous offenses or if an individual is willing to take court mandated treatment to lessen their sentence.
North Carolina (SB 183) eliminated the six-week waiting period for certain offenders to install an IID, allowing for limited driving privileges immediately following their final conviction. Offenders with limited driving privileges and an IID are permitted to drive at all hours of the day and install IIDs only in the vehicles they drive. However, individuals are subject to a standard BAC limit of .02% or more compared to the previous .04% and .01% assigned depending on offense. Additionally, the bill requires IID vendors to reduce costs associated with IID installation and maintenance for offenders experiencing financial hardship. The Joint Legislative Oversight Committee on Justice and Public Safety must submit a study on expanding use of IIDs to the legislature prior to the 2022 legislative session.
Rhode Island (HB 5094/SB314) amended its IID law to allow judges to mandate the use of an IID system, blood and/or urine testing or both when first-time DUI/driving under the influence of drug offenders (DUID) seek to obtain a conditional hardship license. Judges must mandate IID devices, chemical tests or both, for repeat and high BAC offenders (.15 or above). The new law seeks to give discretion to judges to choose the best prevention methods depending on whether offenders were intoxicated by alcohol only, drugs only or both.
West Virginia (SB 345) renamed its ignition interlock and alcohol testing program, the “Motor Vehicle Alcohol and Drug Test Program.” The bill expands the program to include drug-impaired driving offenders and regular drug testing for such offenders. The commissioner of the DMV can defer the license revocation period for an individual convicted of a DUID offense if the individual is accepted into the program and installs an IID for a prescribed period. If an offender successfully completes the program, the Commissioner must waive the license revocation period assigned at conviction.
Implied Consent and Testing
All driver’s license applicants agree to comply with requests by law enforcement officers to take breath or blood samples to determine impairment when they sign their driver’s license application forms. A breath test can be administered roadside or at any location; blood and urine testing can only be performed at a medical or detention facility. These laws, called implied consent laws, are based on the premise that driving is a privilege and not a right. Every state has some sort of implied consent law, but the penalties vary for offenders who refuse to submit to a test.
Alabama (SB 258) expanded its implied consent law to cover all impairing substances rather than just alcohol. Previously, the state’s implied consent law applied to drugs only in cases with serious injuries or death. The bill also adds the testing of saliva to the state’s implied consent law and removes urine testing. Alabama’s Chief Toxicologist, Curt Harper shared that this change was made because saliva is a more appropriate specimen to test to indicate recent, relevant drug use.
Additionally, the bill adds paramedics and phlebotomists to the list of persons authorized to withdraw blood for an impaired driving test. Law enforcement officers who witness an offense can provide testimony on the driver’s level of impairment based solely off the results of a horizontal nystagmus test, which is a field sobriety test that tracks jerking or twitching of the eyes as a result of impairment.
Arkansas (HB 1184) enacted legislation to provide that a warrant required for a blood draw to determine impairment can be obtained based on an individual’s consent to test or the already established requirement that a warrant can be granted based on probable cause that a person was operating a vehicle or boat while intoxicated.
Indiana (SB 201) passed legislation to provide a defense for drivers who test positive for the presence of either marijuana or its metabolite but did not cause a traffic incident and were not intoxicated. Drivers who do not meet these requirements are guilty of a class C misdemeanor. Michigan (HB 4308/4309) passed legislation to modify a sunset provision that would have increased the 0.08% BAC limit to 0.10% on Oct. 21, 2021. However, the bills were not scheduled to take effect until Nov. 21, 2021, which would have resulted in a temporary increase of the BAC between October and November 2021. To accelerate the effectiveness of the provisions in HB 4308 and 4309, the state enacted SB 616 and 617, which amend the Michigan Vehicle Code and Code of Criminal Procedure to maintain the state’s legal BAC limit at 0.08%. Proponents of SB 616 and 617 deemed enactment critical, as the federal government requires states to adopt and maintain a per se limit of .08 to receive certain federal highway program funding.
Oklahoma (SB 367) added “Intermediate Emergency Medical Technicians, Advanced Emergency Medical Technicians, or paramedics” to the persons authorized to withdraw blood for an impaired driving test. Analysis of a person’s blood will only be considered valid if performed by an accredited laboratory. Breath tests must also be conducted with a device accredited by the U.S. Department of Transportation by an operator permitted to administer a breath test. In addition, the bill clarifies that “screening tests” are not a definitive tool to prove DUI, rather they are a tool to establish probable cause.
Oregon (SB 201) amended its impaired driving law to include that an individual is guilty of a DUI if a blood or breath test shows that their BAC is .08% or more within two hours after driving a vehicle. This change accounts for the possibility that a driver’s BAC may continue to rise after their initial BAC test, implying that they may have consumed alcohol above the legal limit.
Six states—Alabama, Arkansas, Montana, New Hampshire, South Dakota and Utah—created new penalties or enhanced penalties for DUI or driving under the influence of drug offenses.
Alabama (SB 195) extended the lookback period for chemical test refusal from five to ten years. The bill maintains the previously established suspension period of 90-day for a first refusal but applies the new 10-year lookback period; however, the bill establishes suspension periods for subsequent offenses. Second and third test refusals within the 10-year lookback period are subject to one and three-year driver’s license suspensions, respectively. Individuals with a fourth or subsequent refusal on their record qualify for a five-year suspension.
Arkansas (HB 1062) extended the lookback period for DUI offenses from 5 to 10 years for second through fifth offenses. The bill increases the lookback period from 10 to 20 years for a sixth or subsequent offense.
Montana (HB 115) increased penalties for fifth and subsequent DUI offenses. Individuals with a fifth DUI conviction face a fine between $5,000 and $10,000 and up to 10 years in prison, with the first five years exempt from suspension. Previously, a fifth offense could only result in a prison sentence of up to five years. Subsequent offenses result in five to 25 years in prison, a penalty between $5,000 and $10,000 and exclusion from deferred sentences or prison time suspension.
New Hampshire (HB 179) established a penalty for repeat offenders who cause death or serious bodily injury. Offenders with one previous DUI conviction face 10 to 20 years in prison whereas offenders with two or more subsequent DUI convictions can be sentenced to 15 to 30 years in prison.
South Dakota (HB 1061) created a class 2 misdemeanor offense of smoking or consuming marijuana while operating a vehicle.
Utah (HB 20) enacted legislation to establish classifications for extreme DUIs which include high BAC (.16) offenses, offenders with a .05 BAC plus any measurable controlled substance or individuals who test positive for two or more substances that were not prescribed for medical reasons. First-time offenders face up to five days in jail or two days in addition to home confinement of at least 30 days plus substance use testing. Previously, high-risk offenders faced a jail sentence of at least two days or work in a compensatory service work program for at least two days, among other penalties still in place. The bill also increases the penalties for individuals with a prior DUI, or those meet the extreme DUI classification for a second offense, in the past 10 years from 10 to at least 20 days of jail time, or at least 10 days in jail plus 60 days of home confinement with electronic monitoring and drug testing.
Additionally, the bill created penalties for a second DUI offense within 10 years that do not fall under the newly established classifications, which include a jail sentence of at least 10 days or a jail sentence of at least five days in addition to home confinement of at least 30 days with electronic monitoring that includes substance abuse testing and mandatory screening and assessment, among other penalties. Offenders who participate in the 24/7 sobriety program are eligible for a suspended jail sentence once they have served a minimum of five days in jail for a second offense or 10 days in jail for a third or subsequent offense.
The new law also allows the court to suspend jail time for individuals convicted of a first-time offense under the new DUI classifications if they participate in the 24/7 sobriety program. Repeat offenders who participate in the program are eligible for a reduced jail sentence. The court can reinstate jail time and additional penalties if an offender does not successfully complete the program.
Finally, the bill provides that individuals are subject to a separate DUI charge, rather than the previous penalty of a single class A misdemeanor, for each passenger under the age of 16 in the vehicle at the time of the offense.
24/7 Sobriety and Drug Monitoring Programs and Treatment Programs
DUI recidivism is a significant concern for lawmakers and enforcement officials. To address this issue, states have debated and enacted legislation requiring offenders to participate in sobriety monitoring programs and treatment programs. Judges have always had the option to use court-mandated treatment, which requires impaired driving offenders to participate in evaluation and treatment for their substance abuse issues. However, recent interest includes combining behavioral treatment with more punitive sanctions.
Sobriety programs involving 24/7 monitoring emphasize sobriety and require certain DUI offenders to submit to a breath or urine test multiple times (usually twice) daily at a designated site. Many programs also allow the use of breathalyzers, transdermal alcohol monitoring devices (ankle bracelets) and drug monitoring patches to monitor an offender’s sobriety when certain factors such as distance from or lack of access to a testing site make primary testing methods unreasonable. If the offender fails or does not appear for a test, he or she will receive swift, certain and moderate sanctions, which can include bond revocation, parole or probation, and incarceration for 24 or 48 hours, in most cases. 24/7 sobriety monitoring programs do not require participants to enter treatment.
The RAND Corporation published a paper in 2020 analyzing South Dakota’s 24/7 sobriety monitoring program’s causal effect on the probability of rearrest or probation revocation for repeat DUI offenders — offenders who have been charged with a second or third DUI violation. South Dakota was the first state to establish a statewide 24/7 sobriety monitoring program in 2007. The authors concluded that the probability of rearrest or probation revocation was 49% lower for program participants than for non-participants 12 months after their DUI arrest. The authors also found a “substantive decrease at 24 and 36 months.”
Currently, 14 states—Alaska, Florida, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah, Washington, Wisconsin and Wyoming—have 24/7 sobriety monitoring programs or pilot programs at the state or county level.
Nebraska and Utah amended their 24/7 sobriety and drug monitoring program laws and three states— Arkansas, Delaware and Virginia — enacted legislation related to treatment programs for DUI offenders in 2021.
Nebraska (LB 271) created the 24/7 Sobriety Program Act which coordinates efforts among state and local governments to create and implement 24/7 sobriety programs where participants are tested twice a day for evidence of drug or alcohol consumption. If an individual has had their license revoked and they have gone at least 30 days without drug or alcohol consumption, they may qualify for a 24/7 sobriety program permit, which would allow them to drive to school, work or a testing facility. Additionally, individuals can be placed in the program as a condition of bond or pretrial release. The bill sponsor shared that the intent of the bill is to find alternatives to incarceration for impaired driving offenses.
Utah (HB 26) expanded its 24/7 sobriety monitoring program from a pilot program to a statewide program. The bill also provides that individuals who complete a court drug treatment program qualify for license reinstatement before completion of the suspension period if they have completed a court drug program. A person can apply for an ignition interlock restricted license instead of having their license suspended if a risk assessment identifies them as a low-risk offender.
Arkansas (HB 1059) passed legislation to allow district courts to establish a DUI for boating while intoxicated court program for impaired driving or boating offenders.
Delaware (HB 51) enacted legislation to clarify when certain offenders must complete an intensive inpatient or outpatient drug and alcohol treatment program. The bill requires offenders to participate in a program for at least three months within a certain point after sentencing. Participation in any treatment program must be approved by the court or Department of Corrections.
Virginia (SB 1336) authorized courts to issue an offender a restricted driver’s license if the offender completes an alcohol safety action program that is certified by the Commission on the Virginia Alcohol Safety Program. An offender is prohibited from operating a vehicle without an ignition interlock device while holding the restricted license.
Sealing and Expungement of Records
States allow individuals to have records of criminal cases sealed, meaning that such a record would be accessible only with a court order. It is also possible for people to have certain offenses removed from their criminal record entirely. This process is known as expungement. Four states—Arkansas, Michigan, North Dakota and Virginia —amended their expungement laws concerning DUI offenders.
Arkansas (SB 685) added impaired driving or boating to the list of misdemeanors that offenders can petition for expungement once they have completed the applicable lookback period assigned at conviction.
Michigan (HB 4219/4220) amended its expungement laws to allow first time DUI offenders to file an application with the court for “setting aside” their conviction if they did not cause the death of or serious bodily injury to another person. Michigan (SB 400) also increased the waiting period before an offender can apply to set aside one DUI conviction from three to five years.
North Dakota (HB 1336) passed legislation to retroactively apply its DUI expungement law. The state enacted legislation in 2019 to include certain DUI offenses if the requester has not committed a subsequent violation of the impaired driving laws or any other criminal offense within seven years of the first violation. However, the law only applied to DUI offenses that took place after the law went into effect. The new law permits one-time DUI offenders to petition for expungement if they received a conviction prior to the passage of the 2019 law.
Virginia (VA HB 2113/SB 1339) enacted legislation to allow for automatic and petition-based record-sealing for certain convictions. However, the law explicitly states that DUIs do not qualify for expungement.