Many people believe that a Driving Under the Influence (DUI) conviction will be removed from their criminal record after seven years, but this is not always the case. This type of conviction can stay on your record for the rest of your life, unless you go through a formal expungement process.
Simply put, expungement is a way of cleaning your criminal record so that certain past convictions do not show when applying for jobs or housing.
How Do I Qualify for DUI Expungement in California?
Those who qualify to get a conviction expunged in California have to have completed certain processes:
- Haven't been charged in another criminal case in California.
- Completion of DUI probationary term
- Paid your fines and completed any mandatory classes or community service.
- Have not served time in state prison.
- Have not committed any other additional crimes.
Who is Not Eligible for DUI Expungement?
Not everyone can apply to have a DUI conviction expunged, including those who served time in a state prison. However, there may be a way for you to reduce the penalties you are subjected to after this conviction. For example, you may be able to qualify for a Certificate of Rehabilitation. You may also be able to obtain a pardon for this conviction.
What Is the Process of Having a Conviction Expunged from My Criminal and Driving Record in California?
To have your conviction expunged, the first thing you can do is hire an attorney. They can help make the process easier since you have someone advocating for your expungement.
You will also need to complete the following steps:
- Go to the courthouse and gather your criminal records.
- Request a petition to file for a dismissal.
- If you are still on probation, you must file a motion that terminates the probationary period early.
- The court will schedule a hearing, but if you choose to hire an attorney, they can go in your place.
- Wait until the judge decides to either approve or deny your petition.
What Are the Limitations of Expunging a Conviction?
Even if your conviction is expunged, it will remain on the court's databases and your driving record in California. This means that law enforcement agencies and the Department of Motor Vehicles will still be able to see it. The court can also use this prior conviction when determining your sentence if you commit this offense more than once.
In addition to the above, you are required to disclose the expunged conviction when you apply for career opportunities at government agencies or in law enforcement. The same applies when you wish to receive a professional license, but it will not necessarily disqualify you from receiving it.
What Are the Advantages of Expunging a Conviction?
Although there are limitations, you will enjoy several advantages after your criminal record is expunged, including:
- Your conviction will not appear on most background checks.
- You can truthfully tell a potential employer that you don't have any convictions on your record.
- You will be eligible for more financial assistance if you decide to return to school.
- You will be eligible to rent in most apartment buildings.
Will I Be Able to Have More than One Conviction Expunged?
Sometimes people decide to drive after having too much to drink, and they pay the consequences. Some people only make this mistake once. In other cases, people get convicted more than once on this same charge, but make the decision to turn their life around.
The good news is that you can have more than one conviction expunged in California. You can have as many of these convictions expunged as you like if you never served time in state prison. Remember, this is different from time in a county jail - which still makes you eligible.
Ultimately, you must be aware that it will be more difficult for you to have a second conviction expunged than just one. It will require that you present evidence to the court that shows that you spent time in a rehabilitation center or worked to overcome your addiction in some other way. Consult with an attorney to make sure that your convictions are eligible to be expunged.
Why Hire Newman & Allen for Your Expungement?
Expunging a conviction can be difficult in California since the state takes any kind of DUI charge seriously. At one time, it used to be enough for you to complete your probationary period and pay all of your penalties to be eligible to expunge your record. However, you are currently also required to convince the court that you deserve to have the conviction expunged. For this purpose, you need a Rancho Cucamonga criminal defense lawyer to present a compelling case for you.
Although you have the option of presenting your case on your own, this process can be complicated if you don't have experience in this area. Our California DUI lawyers have spent decades dealing with DUI charges and expungement and can simplify the process for you.
Whether you want to get a DUI charge dismissed or one expunged, trust a team of dedicated attorneys who will fight for your rights. Call the California expungement lawyers at (909) 328-6101 to schedule a free consultation to discuss your unique case.