DUI is among the most committed crimes in California. Its conviction can lead to lifelong problems in the quality of life, employment, and licenses. Fortunately, California law allows offenders the opportunity to expunge your criminal history or conviction. This way, you would have resolved these problems to a given extent.
The DUI expungement process is complicated to handle it alone. You need a lawyer’s help to win. For instance, a lawyer will ensure you complete the correct paperwork and file the petition on your behalf. If you are in Los Angeles and you need your DUI record expunged, contact the Jonathan Franklin DUI Attorney law firm as soon as possible. We will dedicate our resources to ensuring you have another chance to live a DUI record-free life.
Overview of DUI Expungement
Expungement is a court-ordered process whereby the applicable legal arrest or conviction record is erased as per the law. When a conviction is expunged, the process can also be known as setting aside a criminal conviction record. The possibility to expunge and the process of having your conviction or arrest record expunged in California vary according to numerous factors, including the county where the conviction or arrest took place. Record expungement law is outlined under Penal Code 1203.4.
Contrary to popular belief, a record of DUI conviction in California doesn’t go away automatically after a given period. Clearing this conviction requires you to file a petition with the court, failure to which it will remain on your criminal record forever.
Once you expunge your criminal record, you can truthfully answer ‘’NO’’ to any question concerning criminal convictions. Also, a potential employer cannot hold the conviction against you regarding promotion or hiring considerations.
Who Qualifies to Have Their DUI Conviction Record Expunged?
Any person that has been sentenced for either a felony or misdemeanor DUI can expunge their record provided that:
- They successfully served their probation sentence for the crime.
- They either didn’t serve time in prison for the crime or served a state prison sentence for the offense, but would’ve served a county jail sentence after enacting realignment according to Proposition 47.
- They are not presently facing any other charges.
Most DUI convictions in California will satisfy these requirements.
If you’re presently serving a probation sentence, you have to wait until that sentence is over. If you weren’t placed on probation, you could seek your record to be expunged a year after your conviction. Particular driving crimes like extreme speeding, reckless driving (even when alcohol is not involved), speed contests, and wet reckless are also classified together with DUI crimes and are expunged in the same manner. We recommend that you check eligibility before beginning the process just in case you have doubts.
How a DUI Record Expungement Works
As soon as you complete your probation sentence for a drunk-driving conviction, you may file a petition in court to have the conviction record deleted. After submitting the petition, the judge will review it and determine whether or not you are entitled to the expungement, and if so, he/she will grant your request. If the petition is granted, then either:
- You withdraw your plea of no contest or guilty and re-enter a plea of ‘not guilty.’
- If you were sentenced after a bench trial or jury trial, the judge would set aside the verdict.
Once either of the two is done, the judge will dismiss the case.
It takes between three to four months to expunge a DUI conviction record, but courts vary. What you need to do is talk to an experienced DUI lawyer who may be able to give a more precise time-frame based on your case. Note that delays may occur, and expungements aren’t a priority for courts since there’s no statute of limitations for petitions for expungement. At the same time, there are time limits for other criminal court proceedings outlined under the law.
Records You Need to Bring During a DUI Expungement Petition
You will require the docket number or case number, conviction date, the verdict, code number and name for the conviction, how you served your sentence, and if possible, a minute order from the court where you were convicted or entered the guilty or no contest plea. If you can’t access this info, you should contact an experienced lawyer to help you obtain them.
Step by Step Procedure
When applying for expungement relief, the following steps are involved:
- Your lawyer will first bring a petition to dismiss in court.
- If necessary, he/she can also request the judge to bring a motion for granting early termination of probation.
- The lawyer will then present to the court an attachment to your petition where you would have stated that you haven’t committed any additional crimes and have been a law-abiding citizen in your neighborhood. In the attachment, you can also describe how the record deletion will help you further your profession to your benefit and the benefit of your family.
- Your lawyer can still bring the petition to dismiss, even if you must wait to serve your full probation term.
- All documents concerning the record deletion will then be timely served to the probation departments and prosecution to allow them a chance to challenge it as the law requires.
- If your petition is granted, you’ll receive an Order of Dismissal.
An Early Termination of Probation Can Help Expunge Your Conviction Much Earlier
Assuming the judge has agreed to grant you an early termination of your probation sentence, you can expunge your DUI earlier than expected. You are eligible to have an expungement after your probation sentence ends. It doesn’t matter whether the probation was terminated because its period had ended, or the court just terminated it early.
Misdemeanor probation for a drugged or drunk driving conviction will generally last three years, but it can go up to five years. Felony probation is equally that long. Three or five years is quite a long period to wait to attain a record deletion’s advantages. But the law provides a process through which you can get your DUI probation sentence terminated earlier, for instance, after eighteen months.
How to Get an Early Termination of Your DUI Probation Sentence
To have your DUI probation terminated earlier, you have to bring a petition for early termination in court. The judge has the discretion to agree to your petition if:
- You have completed the probation terms and conditions successfully. For instance, paying all the fines and restitution and attending all the DUI classes
- Various circumstances warrant the early termination of the probation, for example, if you need to advance at your work, secure profitable employment, or travel to visit your ill family member or for work.
However, in reality, most judges are usually reluctant to agree to the petition to terminate a probation sentence early in DUI cases. One of the several probation terms for a DUI crime is that you may not operate a vehicle with any detectable alcohol amount in your system. Generally, judges would want to see that this condition binds you for the longest time possible. Therefore, most judges would require you to serve the full probation term before granting the petition to expunge your DUI and dismiss the case.
Will an Expungement Impact the Penalties In Case of Another DUI Conviction?
DUI is a priorable crime in California, which means the penalties get harsher with every other conviction accumulated in ten years. This also means that an expunged drugged or drunk conviction is still priorable, just as though it hadn’t been expunged.
Consider this example: Lenox is found guilty of VC 23152b, operating a vehicle with a blood alcohol content level of 0.08% or more. It’s his first DUI crime. The judge sentences him to probation, which he completes successfully. His DUI attorney then gets his conviction expunged. However, several months later, Lenox gets convicted again of driving under the influence. Although his previous conviction record was expunged, Lenox will still be subjected to the punishment of a second offense DUI.
DUI Expungement and Driver’s License Suspension
Unfortunately, a DUI expungement won’t overturn your driver’s license revocation or suspension. However, in many cases, a probation sentence lasts longer compared to the period for mandatory license suspension for DUI. For instance, if convicted of DUI for the first time, the period for the suspension of your license will be six months, while the probation sentence will be three to five years.
However, Rarely does the license suspension period go beyond probation sentence, for example, if your license is revoked permanently. In cases like this, expunging the DUI conviction record still won’t reinstate the lost driving privilege.
It is worth noting that erasing your DUI record won’t remove it from the DMV records. Additionally, deleting your DUI record won’t permit you to pursue a driving job, such as Lyft or Uber, since the DUI will stay on your DMV record for ten years.
It’s also worth keeping in mind that a DUI expungement won’t affect your insurance rates as concerns your auto insurance. The deletion of your criminal conviction doesn’t remove or seal from insurance databases your car driving history. Therefore, it doesn’t affect the prices that insurance providers will quote for you for your auto insurance.
Finding a Job After a DUI Expungement
One primary benefit of deleting a DUI conviction from your criminal record is that it won’t be more challenging to secure employment. A potential employer may not refer to it as a basis for negative employment repercussions after a drugged or drunk conviction is expunged.
The ‘ban the box’ statute forbids employers to ask about conviction or arrest records on job applications or before a conditional employment offer is made. But a deleted conviction doesn’t need to be revealed whatsoever. And in case the employer, in one way or another, comes across it, they may not lawfully use it as a reference when making any employment decisions, like whether to promote or retain you.
However, expunging a DUI record doesn’t affect your duty to disclose it during your application for teaching credentials or state licenses. Note that a licensing board can use the expunged conviction against you when determining whether to renew or grant your credential or license. However, it may look more favorably on the application because the record was expunged.
How an Attorney Can Help
If you need to have your DUI conviction record expunged, you need a record expungement attorney. For one, the legal standards for expunging drunk or drugged driving criminal records are now higher than many other records. The judge must establish that the record deletion is in the interests of justice. The judge has the discretion to deny your petition to expunge the record, and the prosecution is more likely to contest it. In a situation like this, a skilled attorney is critical to your success.
It’s usually best to hire a record expungement lawyer to help you complete the paperwork and file the petition. Many people try to file a petition for expungement by themselves only to commit errors. They are forced to spend much more money to hire a lawyer to bring a motion for reconsideration to resolve their mistakes. You can avoid all this if you just hire a lawyer from the beginning.
Find a Skilled DUI Attorney Near Me to Expunge My Record
Criminal record expungement is ideal for avoiding the negativity and stigma associated with a bad criminal record. At the Jonathan Franklin DUI Attorney, we believe in second chances and treat DUI record expungement cases with the seriousness it deserves. Allow us to assist you through the messy situation you are in and return your life back to normal.
We do not recommend that you go through the process on your own since it may be complicated, and you could commit minor mistakes. Blunders could cost you much money and time. Don’t hesitate to call us at 323-464-6700 if you need your DUI criminal record expunged. We have helped many clients in Los Angeles, and neighboring cities have their DUI criminal records expunged.