Expungement

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 probation (3-5 years) and 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.

Expungement

CLEAR YOUR RECORD

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 petiton.

A competent DUI Defense Attorney should 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 a competent DUI Defense Attorney guarantees the highest probability that your expungement petition will be granted.

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Frequently Asked Questions

When my DUI is expunged, will my employer be able to see it?

Usually no. When an employer requests a background check with the DOJ, only “convictions” are revealed. A DUI that has been expunged is no longer a conviction.

Is there a difference between a "criminal record" and a "driving record" when it comes to expungement?

Yes. Expungement refers only to a person’s criminal record. As such, your driving record may still show that you have points from a prior DUI, or that you had lost a DMV Hearing.

Besides attorney fees, are there other fees involved with expungement?

Yes. The court will usually charge you $120 to petition the court for expungement.

What are the most important things I should look for when hiring a DUI lawyer?

Ask yourself 3 things: a) Will this lawyer actually be the one representing you? Or does this lawyer simply pass the case off to “one” of the associates. b) Does this lawyer specialize in DUI? Or does this lawyer take whatever walks in the door? c) Is the quoted fee the “actual” fee that you will be paying? Or are there plenty of hidden fees that will hit you when you don’t simply plead guilty?

I just got a letter in the mail from law enforcement, with a request to contact a detective regarding an accident/incident involving my vehicle. What should I do?

You should absolutely NOT respond to such a letter. You have the right to remain silent, and that means the right to NOT speak to investigators/cops. Remember, no matter what you say it will be twisted around and used against you later. In short, no benefit can be derived from responding. You should contact a lawyer ASAP if you have received such a letter or voice mail.

I just got arrested for a DUI and I refused all tests. Can they still convict me?

Absolutely, especially if you forgot about the right to remain silent and copped yourself out. Remember, no matter what you said it will be twisted around and used to make you look guilty. Also, many refusal cases still (unfortunately) involve Field Sobriety Tests, which are designed to make anyone, sober or not, look impaired. With that said, a refusal DUI is usually more defensible than a regular DUI, since there isn’t a specific number that prosecutors can point to, but the consequences of conviction are more severe.

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.

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    The Law Office of “The DUI Specialist” Jeff Yeh is proud to serve clients in all of Los Angeles, Ventura, Orange, San Diego, Riverside, and San Bernardino counties. The firm handles DUI and criminal cases in Torrance, Long Beach, South Bay, Downey, San Fernando, Santa Monica, Westminster, Santa Ana, Newport Beach, Hawthorne, Fullerton, Laguna Niguel, Alhambra, Hollywood, Yorba Linda, Redondo Beach, Manhattan Beach, Burbank, Pasadena, Santa Clarita, Valencia, Newhall, Whittier, West Covina, Calabasas, Garden Grove, Tustin, Foutain Valley, Anaheim, Inglewood, Buena Park, Cerritos, Lakewood, Los Alamitos, Bellflower, Norwalk, Chino, Carson, Redondo Beach, Orange County, Los Angeles County, San Diego County, Ventura County, Riverside County, San Bernardino County, El Monte, Manhattan Beach, Gardena, Compton, South Gate, La Puente, Pomona, Costa Mesa, San Clemente, Mission Viejo, Laguna Beach, San Pedro, Glendale, Beverly Hills, Culver City, Temple City, Westwood, Van Nuys, Woodland Hills, Encino, Sun Valley, La Canada, Altadena, Sierra Madre, Monrovia, Azuza, La Verne, Pomona, West Hollywood, Marina del Rey, Chatsworth, San Fernando, Orange, Placentia, La Crescenta, Corona, Bellflower, Rosemead, Montebello, San Dimas, Vernon, Monterey Park, San Gabriel, Diamond Bar, Sherman Oaks, Eagle Rock, Bel Air, Chino Hills, Brentwood, Simi Valley, Lancaster, Fontana, Riverside, Big Bear, Barstow, Indio, Murrieta, Blythe, and all other cities in Southern California.

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