Many individuals who have been convicted of drunk driving believe that their convictions will remain with them forever. Fortunately, however, California law does have provisions for the expungement (the sealing of criminal records) of convictions. Both misdemeanor and felony convictions can be expunged; however, the type of relief that is available differs from one case to the next and is dependent upon the type of charges and the penalties imposed.
What is a DUI Expungement?
The most common way to get a DUI misdemeanor expunged is allowed under California's Penal Code Section 1203.4. This section provides, in part:
“[DUI offender shall]…be permitted by the court to withdraw his or her plea of guilty or plea of nolo contendere and enter a plea of not guilty; or, if he or she has been convicted after a plea of not guilty, the court shall set aside the verdict of guilty; and, in either case, the court shall thereupon dismiss the accusations or information against the defendant and except as noted below, he or she shall thereafter be released from all penalties and disabilities resulting from the offense of which he or she has been convicted, except as provided…”
When granting a DUI expungement, the courts will look to see:
If the petitioner successfully completed his or her term of probation;
That all fines, restitution and reimbursement ordered by the court have been paid and that all other conditions as ordered by the court have been fulfilled;
Whether or not the petitioner has any new pending cases.
When is a DUI Offender Ineligible for Expungement?
If any of the following exists, then DUI offenders are not eligible for expungement:
- The petitioner is still completing his or her sentence for a criminal offense or is still on formal or informal probation for any offense, or is charged with the commission of any offense;
- The petitioner's probation was revoked and not reinstated;
- The petitioner was arrested and convicted of a new crime within a year of the former conviction;
- There is an outstanding warrant for the arrest of the petitioner;
- The DUI offender failed to appear or pay fees/fines to the Department of Motor Vehicles
- The record of the conviction continues to exist and continues to have certain effects;
- The conviction is for an infraction (a criminal offense for which a jail sentence may not be imposed) or for a violation of California's VC Sections 2800, 2801, or 2803.
There are a number of benefits to getting your DUI expunged. Once the conviction is expunged, you will not be required to reveal the conviction when you apply for a job under most circumstances. If, however, you are filling out an application or questionnaire for a public office or for a licensure by any state or local agency and are directly asked if you have been convicted of a crime, then you must answer honestly.
The legal process for expunging criminal records is oftentimes filled with various obstacles. If you are looking to get your Alameda DUI conviction expunged, it is best to have a skilled Alameda criminal defense attorney who is experienced with expungements help you. At the Alameda DUI Law Firm, we have helped many individuals get expungement relief.