A DUI expungement is a legal remedy to clear your criminal record. When you expunge your criminal record, you can find better employment, remove travel restrictions, and make yourself a better applicant when applying for universities. A DUI expungement in California has its basis in Penal Code 1203.4.
Eligibility for a DUI Expungement
A DUI is not listed among the offenses expressly prohibited from expungement under Penal Code 12o3.4. This means that most DUI’s will at least be initially eligible for an expungement.
The one exception for a DUI offense is if your DUI conviction was a felony and you served time in prison – any offense for which you served prison time (or time in jail under AB 109 re-alignment) will be ineligible for expungement.
So your DUI is still eligible for a felony expungement, as long as you weren’t sentenced to time in prison.
Get Your DUI Expungement Granted
In order to get a DUI expungement and clear your criminal record, you have to bring an expungement motion before the court. A “motion” is the formal legal method for asking the court to do something.
As expungement lawyers who help our clients clear their criminal records, we handle DUI expungement motions throughout courts located in Los Angeles, Orange County, and San Diego.
Violation of Probation May Have an Effect
One important factor that has an affect on the judge’s likelihood of granting your expungement motion is whether you violated your probation.
If you did violate your probation, the judge can still grant your motion, but may consider factors to determine whether it’s truly in the “interests of justice” to grant the expungement of your record.
If you did not violate your probation, then the judge lacks the discretion to deny your motion and must grant it, assuming all of the other below requirements are met.
So far we have discussed that you are ineligible for a DUI expungement if you served time in prison. Additionally, you:
- cannot currently have any other pending criminal charges;
- cannot currently be on probation for any offense; and
- cannot currently be serving a sentence on any offense.
The idea behind this is that the law will reward you with clearing your criminal record, so long as it’s a lifestyle from your past. Ongoing criminal cases, probation, etc. attests to lack of rehabilitation and thus you are viewed as less deserving of expungement, in the eyes of the law.
Other Factors to Consider
While the law in California is uniform, the way it is applied from county to county varies greatly. This means that depending on the court in which you received your DUI conviction, the process for obtaining a DUI expungement may vary greatly.
This is because each court has their own individual rules about the proper documents to use, proper service on the prosecutor and/ or on the probation department, and the proper court procedure for having the judge rule on your motion.
As experienced expungement lawyers, we take care of all of these details for you, should you decide to hire us. (You can contact me for a free consultation below.)
Limitations of DUI Expungement
DUI Expungement Won’t Remove DMV Points
A DUI is a moving violation, meaning if convicted you will receive points on your DMV record (a DUI conviction will result in 2 points on your DMV record). Getting an expungement serves to dismiss the case from your criminal record, but will have no affect on your DMV record.
Expunged DUI Conviction Will Still Count as a “Prior Offense”
In the eyes of the law, multiple convictions for the same offense receive higher consequences. This applies to DUIs as well.
Although an expungement will dismiss a DUI conviction from your record, if you are ever charged with a subsequent DUI, then the first expunged conviction will still be viewed as a “prior DUI” for the purposes of how the prosecutor charges the second DUI.
Benefits of a DUI Expungement
The main benefit a DUI expungement provides is increased employment opportunities. This is because you do not have to disclose a DUI conviction if it has been expunged, if asked about it on an application.
This is because in the eyes of the law, once you get your DUI expunged the conviction is dismissed from your record as if it never happened. There are only 3 times when you have to disclose your DUI conviction, even if it’s been expunged:
- When you’re applying for licensure by any State agency (e.g. to be a nurse, lawyer, teacher, etc.);
- When you’re applying for public office;
- When you’re contracting with the California State Lottery Commission.
In all other cases, you never have to disclose your DUI – as long as it’s been expunged!
Application to University
When applying to university, you may be asked about prior criminal convictions. A DUI conviction may look irresponsible to the admissions committee. When you get your case expunged, you dismiss the conviction from your record and no longer have to disclose it.
Some countries, such as Canada, won’t allow you to enter their country with a DUI conviction or wet reckless conviction – unless it’s been expunged.
Peace of Mind
Some individuals simply cannot tolerate the idea of being a “convicted criminal.” When you get an expungement and dismiss the case from your record, you no longer have this negative stigma.
Get Help with Your DUI Expungement
We have made the process for getting a DUI expungement as simple, straightforward, and efficient as possible. If you think you may need help, please contact me below for a free consultation with me personally to discuss your options.