Getting Your DUI Expunged In California
Having a conviction for driving under the influence (DUI) can have many unfortunate repercussions beyond the immediate fines, license suspension, and possible imprisonment. Convictions, especially felony convictions, can affect eligibility for government programs, insurance rates, professional licensing, and even your ability to find work. Thankfully, there are procedures in California to have convictions removed from your criminal record if certain requirements are met. Continue reading for details about the expungement process in California, and contact a skilled Ventura DUI attorney with additional questions.
What is expungement of a DUI in California?
A DUI conviction will appear in a driver’s DMV records as well as their criminal record. After 10 years the conviction will automatically disappear from the driver’s DMV records but will stay on their criminal record indefinitely absent an expungement.
If a criminal record is expunged (or retroactively “dismissed”), a court will allow the defendant to withdraw their plea of guilty or no contest (aka “nolo contendere”) and the case is dismissed. The records of conviction will be destroyed or sealed, and for most purposes it will be as if the conviction never occurred, and instead the case was dismissed. There are exceptions: For example, if the driver later gets another DUI, the fact of a prior DUI can be brought up even if expunged, and certain governmental background checks will ask for all criminal convictions, including those expunged.
Requirements for expungement in California criminal law
California Penal Code section 1203.4 sets the requirements for expungement. A DUI conviction is eligible for expungement if:
- You are not currently serving another sentence or facing criminal charges in another case.
- You either did not receive probation or have successfully completed probation (usually three years for a DUI, or earlier if you obtain early release).
- You have complied with the rest of your sentence, such as paying fines and restitution.
If you satisfy these requirements, you can petition the court to expunge your DUI conviction. Unfortunately, unlike with some other types of crimes, the court is not required to expunge a DUI conviction even if you satisfy these requirements. The court will determine if it’s in the best interests of justice to do so. For that reason, it is important to hire a qualified DUI attorney to help you through the process. The process can take 6-12 weeks once the moving papers are filed with the court.
If you are interested in having a conviction expunged or are facing criminal charges in California, get effective, passionate and practiced legal help by contacting the Ventura offices of Paul Tyler for a free consultation at 805-889-9000.