Receiving a DUI (driving while under the influence) can be an embarrassing and stressful time. The State of California allows misdemeanor DUIs to be expunged from your criminal record completely, and a felony DUI to be reduced to a misdemeanor, as long as you are able to complete some very specific requirements.
What is Expungement?
An expungement, also known as a dismissal, is a post-conviction process in which an individual already convicted of an offense withdraws their guilty plea and then the charges against them are dismissed. You will even be able to deny under oath without any penalty of perjury that you were not convicted of that particular criminal offense.
Who Can Apply for Expungement of a DUI conviction?
If you have been convicted of a DUI, California law allows you to apply for an expungement of your conviction if you:
- Have successfully completed probation for the DUI offense
- Are not currently facing any other charges
- Are not on probation for any other offense
- Did not have prison time included in your sentence, or it would have been served in county jail following the implementation of Proposition 47’s Realignment AB109.
If you are currently on probation, you will have to wait until the probation is completed to apply for an expungement. If you were never placed on any probation, you may apply for an expungement of the crime from your record one year after your conviction.
Benefits of an Expungement
There are many benefits to receiving an expungement of your DUI offense. You will be able to tell employers that you were never convicted of a crime. You may become eligible again for certain professional licenses. You can state under oath that you were never convicted of any crime or DUI. You may apply for a change in immigrant status without the fear of a criminal offense on your record. You can undergo a background check without fear that a criminal charge will appear.
While an expungement will not overturn a driver’s license suspension or revocation, it will help you with other life issues such as obtaining employment.
How Does Expungement Work?
After completion of probation, you may petition the court to expunge the record of your conviction. The judge will review the petition and if they determine that the petition should be granted, they will either:
- Allow you to withdraw your original guilty plea or nolo contendere (no contest) plea and re-enter a not guilty plea instead
- If you had a jury trial or a bench trial, the judge will set aside the guilty verdict
The case will then be dismissed.
Contact a DUI Lawyer Today
California has strict and harsh penalties for driving under the influence of alcohol. However, you may be eligible to petition for an expungement of your DUI conviction. For more information to determine if you are eligible for an expungement of your DUI conviction in California and help pursuing this option, contact our team of experienced DUI lawyers today at the Law Offices of Christopher J. McCann. You may schedule a consultation by calling 714-477-7818.