Every person that has a conviction for any crime may want to have their record clear of any prior conviction. Having a record can affect your professional life as well as your private life. An expungement of a DUI conviction comes after one has fulfilled all the requirements of a DUI sentencing they received. An expungement means erasing any previous conviction and starting anew. In California, a person that has served their sentence can apply for an expungement as contained in PEN 1203.4. If you need to be released from the adverse effects of a DUI conviction, you should hire a DUI lawyer and start the process of expungement. At The DUI Defense Attorney, we are skilled and committed to helping you petition for an expungement to have your life back.
Advantages of a DUI Expungement
A DUI conviction can hinder you from getting many things done. Most potential employers request a criminal record before they decide to employ you. When one has a DUI conviction on their record, some employers may not want to be associated with you. Equally, landlords also ask for a criminal record of potential tenants before deciding whether to lease their house to you or not. These are just a few of the challenges one would face if they have a DUI conviction on their record.
When one gets an expungement of their DUI conviction, the record is sealed from the public, meaning no one can access or use the information to discriminate against you. You can also be able to deny that you have a prior conviction while under oath without the fear of getting penalized for perjury.
With an expunged record, a potential employer cannot deny you a job based on your past, neither can you be rejected to lease a house on the same. In a lot of cases, employers in the private sector will ask you the details of dismissed convictions because it becomes irrelevant for your employment.
An expungement helps a person to enhance their capacity to earn because they become eligible for various employment opportunities. When a person has a criminal record, they are barred from getting many professional certificates and licenses. However, when your record is expunged, one is able to pursue their profession without hindrances of any kind.
A student with a criminal record cannot be trusted to get appropriate student loans. When your criminal record is expunged as a student, it becomes easier for you to access student loans and better yourself. Everyone cares about what others think about them. With an expungement, you can confidently tell your friends and family that you have no conviction for a DUI and focus on bettering your future. The past can hold a person back and hinder them from achieving better things in the future. An expungement helps you leave the past where it belongs and focus on improving your life.
What a DUI Expungement May Not Do for You
Even with an expungement, the record of your conviction will remain at the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). Law enforcement departments and agencies like the FBI will also stay with your record. If, in 10 years, you are convicted of another DUI, the suspension of your license will be increased by the DMV.
Expungement seals or hides your previous record from the public. However, when one is seeking a public job or professional license, they are obliged to disclose their records. Some areas that you are expected to give this information is when you apply to the US military, a bar license, real estate license, or a law enforcement job.
This does not mean you will not get the job. With an expungement, regardless of your previous criminal record, you are eligible to serve in a public office or get a professional license. A failure to disclose this, however, may lead to you being denied the job or license. Additionally, you may also face charges on criminal perjury for it.
Can an Expungement Reduce Your Car Insurance Premiums?
The rates for your insurance will not be affected by the expungement of your record. When you get an expungement, it does not erase your record from the databases of your insurance provider. The insurance company still has a record of your driving history that currently affects the rates you pay. An expungement of your record will not alter the rates in any way.
Are you Eligible for an Expungement?
Any person that has a felony or misdemeanor conviction in California can seek expungement of their record. Unfortunately, not all DUI convictions can be expunged, especially if a defendant served a state prison sentence. Misdemeanor DUI convictions are more likely to get expungement as compared to felony convictions. However, to do this, a person must fulfill various conditions as outlined below:
- The person must have completed their probation successfully
- The individual either:
- Was not sentenced to state prison for the offense or
- They served in state prison; however, they would have been able to serve in county jail after the implementation under proposition 47 of realignment.
There are, however, other requirements a person must fulfill to qualify for expungement of their DUI record. To qualify:
- You must not be charged with another offense at the time of your application. If a plaintiff is facing other criminal charges for a different case, the law does not allow them to apply for expungement. The current case must first be concluded before applying for an expungement of the DUI conviction.
- As mentioned earlier, one must have completed their probation successfully before applying for an expungement. However, if the plaintiff has an urgent need that requires them to have their record expunged, they can apply to have their probation terminated earlier. In most cases, it is advisable to have served not less than 45% of your probation term before requesting for early termination. (How a person can apply for early probation termination is discussed below)
- The plaintiff must ensure that they have complied with all other conditions and terms to their probation to qualify for early termination. This may include completing their community work hours, among other requirements.
Most DUI convictions in California qualify for expungement when the conditions are met.
How Long Does an Expungement Process Take?
The time is taken, and the process to expunge a DUI conviction in California varies from one county to the other. However, getting your DUI record expunged generally takes an average of 6 to 12 weeks from the time of application. This means that if one needs to get their record expunged fast, it is essential to start the process as soon as one can.
Does One Need an Attorney to Apply for a DUI Expungement?
Although many other kinds of offenses qualify for an individual to apply for expungement without a lawyer, the case is not the same for a DUI conviction. Expungement for a DUI conviction is discretionary to a great extent and requires the help of a lawyer to do it successfully.
The expungement process has become more discretional for the judges. This is due to the recent revisions of PEN 1203.4. This makes it even more challenging to get. For many kinds of offenses, whether they are misdemeanors or felonies, it is easier to obtain an expungement — this is as long as the terms of the probation have been fulfilled successfully. DUI convictions used to be included in this, but with various revisions, it makes it more challenging, making it essential to have an attorney.
For a person to get a DUI expungement, they must present a convincing case to the judge. This makes it essential to hire a DUI attorney that is skilled in this area and can convince the court on your behalf.
The Step by Step Process of Applying for an Expungement
Before one begins the process of expungement, you must have your case number or a minute order issued by the court where you got convicted from. If you are challenged in getting this information, your lawyer is able to assist you to obtain all that you need from the court.
There are various steps one must go through in the process of expungement.
- Your lawyer will begin by filing a dismissal petition
- If your probation is not completed and you require an early termination, your lawyer will assist you in applying for early termination to your probationary terms
- Next, an attachment to your petition is submitted that states the petitioner has not committed another offense. Additionally, they are not going through a trial for another offense. The petitioner also needs to show how they have been good members of their community. If you want the expungement because of your career advancement, this must be clearly articulated. Show how your career advancement is beneficial to your family and yourself. The attachment basically seeks to explain in detail why the expungement is vital to the petitioner and its benefits.
- If required, your lawyer can file for expungement or a petition for dismissal as you wait to complete your probation term.
- Your lawyer ensures to serve all the necessary documents for the expungement petition to the prosecution and departments that deal with probation. This is necessary because the law allows them to contest the expungement petition by giving their reasons to the judge. After the judge evaluates both sides, he or she decides whether to grant or deny the expungement petition.
- If your petition for expungement is granted, the judge issues an order for dismissal.
How an Expungement Works
Immediately following the successful completion of a DUI conviction, the defendant can petition for an expungement of their conviction record to the court. A judge reviews the petition to establish the eligibility of the plaintiff for the expungement.
If the judge grants the petition, either of these happens:
- The plaintiff withdraws their guilty plea and enters a new plea of not guilty
- When conviction was arrived at by a bench trial or jury, the judge puts it aside.
Once this is done, the judge will throw out the case.
About Your Driver’s License After Expungement
Even after getting an expungement following your DUI conviction, the suspension of your driver’s license remains.
However, most probation periods last longer than those of a suspended license. For instance, if you were a first-time offender, your license may be suspended for only six months. This is while your probation sentence lasts between three and five years.
However, in cases where the period the license is suspended is longer than the probation period, getting an expungement will not affect your license suspension. There are cases where one’s license may be suspended permanently, even with an expungement; the plaintiff will never be permitted to drive.
How an Expungement Relates to Subsequent DUI Convictions
A DUI offense in California is a priorable one. What this means is that for each subsequent conviction in a ten year period, the penalties increase. Even with an expunged record, a DUI conviction is still priorable. For instance, when Mary was convicted of a first time DUI offense, she served her probation successfully. Her lawyer then applied to get her record expunged and succeeded. However, in four years, she was arrested on a DUI offense and convicted. Despite the expungement, she will receive penalties as a second-time offender, not a first time offender.
Instead of an Expungement, Why not Wait to Have Your Record Terminated After 10 Years?
Many people have a misconception that a DUI conviction record disappears after a specific period. This is a false belief. A conviction on a DUI charge will not be erased automatically from your criminal history. To get your record cleared, you must seek an expungement of the DUI conviction, according to PEN 1203.4.
However, for a DMV record, after 10 years from the date of conviction, it automatically falls off. Potential employers or landlords will never ask you about your DMV record but will always check on your criminal background. This makes it essential for you to seek an expungement to get employment opportunities unless you are looking for a driver’s position.
When your Probation is Terminated Earlier, Can You Apply for Early Expungement?
Sometimes the court may decide to terminate a defendant’s probation earlier due to various reasons. Fortunately, one can apply for expungement of their record as soon as the probation is terminated. The only condition for an expungement, in this case, is a terminated probation regardless of how long it took.
Summary probation for a DUI conviction usually lasts between three and five years just as felony probation. This means that the expungement of your record can equally take long. However, the law allows for a person convicted of DUI probation to apply for early termination. After serving for a significant period like 18 months, a defendant may start the process of getting their probation terminated. If they succeed with this, they can also petition to have their record expunged early too.
How One Can Get an Early Termination on Their Probation
As earlier discussed, a defendant can apply to get an earlier termination of their DUI probation after serving a significant time of it. However, an application does not mean the defendant automatically gets the probation terminated. The court evaluates the merits of each petition and makes a decision based on various factors such as:
- Establishing if the petitioner has adhered to all the other conditions of the probation successfully like paying fines, attended DMV classes and paid restitution
- What circumstances have the defendant presented that justifies for them to be granted early termination. The person may need to:
- Find a job
- Get a promotion at work
- Go away on work-related duties or see sick family members living far away.
However, most judges are hesitant to give earlier probation termination for DUI offenses. A significant condition under probation is for the defendant to not drive with any amount of alcohol or drugs in their system that can be detected. Most judges prefer seeing the defendant adhering to this condition for a long time to establish that they have changed. This means that most judges prefer the defendant to complete their term before accepting to expunge their conviction record.
Can One Get an Expungement With a Violated Probation?
Sometimes a person may violate their probation due to various reasons. If one can convince the court that their purpose is valid, the probation sentence will not be reversed. After completing the probation, even having violated at some point, you are still entitled to seek an expungement. If your violation led to the revocation of the sentence and asked to serve the remaining years in the county jail, you are still eligible. As long as a person’s jail time was not served in state prison, you have a chance of getting your record expunged.
How Many DUI Convictions Can One Expunge?
Regardless of the number of DUI convictions one has, you can still seek expungement in all of them as long as you never were imprisoned in state prison. However, with multiple convictions, it gets increasingly hard to get them deleted. For every record you need erasing, the more you need to produce supporting documents detailing your rehabilitation efforts.
After an Expungement, How Long Does it Take to Update Records?
In California, many entities typically have your DUI record, and they all have varying speeds of updating them. After granting an expungement, the court must report to the various bodies so that they can update their databases. Usually, most updates are done within 30 days, and your record is cleared from the public.
Find an Attorney Near Me
Expungement for a DUI conviction is complicated when compared to others. However, getting your record expunged is essential for a person to get equal opportunity in employment. A criminal record can lead to discrimination when you are seeking housing or professional licenses. Because of the complexity of the process, you need a skilled lawyer that will fight until you get your expungement. At The DUI Defense Attorney, we are experienced in expungement cases and have a good track record. Get in touch with our Van Nuys DUI lawyer today at 818-253-1913 for an appointment, and we will gladly take up your case.