EXPUNGEMENT IN CALIFORNIA
Clear Your Record
In California the majority of Driving Under the Influence cases are prosecuted as misdemeanors. This means that upon the successful completion of probation (anywhere from 3-5 years), you may be eligible for an “Expungement,” where a conviction is vacated and a dismissal is entered into the records. If you were convicted of a felony DUI, you must, at the conclusion of your probation, petition the court to lower the felony to a misdemeanor first. Once expunged, you will no longer have a “conviction” on your criminal record (although your DMV driving record may still reveal a “prior” DUI and / or an adverse ruling in a DMV Hearing for purposes of insurance).
Normally a person is eligible to have a misdemeanor DUI expunged when they have successfully completed the terms of probation (ie. alcohol program, fines..etc.), with no other criminal case(s) pending. However, each city / county has its own standards, so be sure to contact a lawyer familiar with the court where you were convicted in.
Procedures and Eligibility
It used to be the case that upon the successful completion of probation, filing a petition application with the court all but guaranteed expungement. But since 2008 a new law makes DUI and certain driving-related offenses a lot more difficult to expunge. Granting a petition for expungement of a DUI conviction is now discretionary for the court, which must take into consideration the “interests of justice” with the following factors in mind:
・The seriousness of the offense.
・Whether restitution (if any) has been paid.
・Petitioner’s driving record since the conviction.
・Age of conviction.
・Whether this is the first request for expungement.
・Is petitioner a commercial driver, nanny, pilot, or in a profession where permanent disclosure serves the interests of justice?
・Other mitigating and aggravating factors that justify the granting or denial of the petition.
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Freaqent Asked Questions
I just picked up a DUI and I blew over the legal limit. I’m guilty, so what’s the point of hiring a lawyer?
First of all, being over the legal limit is just the starting point, and all DUI cases that are won involve people who are at or above the legal limit (or they refused). If you were under the legal limit, you wouldn’t even have been cited. Second, just because you feel you are guilty, it doesn’t mean you need to have the full brunt of the consequences crash down on you. With proper representation, things like jail time, license suspension, fines, probation, alcohol school…etc. can be reduced or eliminated, guilty or not.
If I hire a lawyer, is it possible that I will never need to appear in court?
Yes. If you are facing a misdemeanor DUI and nothing else, a lawyer can appear on your behalf without you throughout the entire proceeding. At the DMV, if your testimony is required, you can testify telephonically. If there are any forms you need to sign for court, your lawyer can mail these to you and have you sign in front of a notary. All paperwork that you need can be mailed to you by your lawyer.
I received a letter or voice message from law enforcement asking me to contact them regarding an incident. What should I do？
You should absolutely NOT contact law enforcement yourself. Most of the time this kind of letter is sent when there is not enough evidence yet to charge you, and they are hoping you will help them out by incriminating yourself. Always contact a lawyer first, and if necessary, speak only through counsel.
I was arrested for DUI. Do I need SR-22?
SR-22 is just another term for “Proof of Insurance.” Your insurance company needs to file it for you for 3 years only upon conviction of a DUI.
CALIFORNIA EXPUNGEMENT ATTORNEY JEFF YEH
Call THE DUI SPECIALIST
Navigating the expungement process can be complex. A competent DUI Defense Attorney can help you prepare a declaration under penalty of perjury regarding the above topics and present them on your behalf at an Expungement Hearing. Being represented by an experienced attorney increases the likelihood that your expungement petition will be granted. Contact us today for a free consultation today by filling out the contact form below or by calling me directly at (213) 446 – 2495.