DUI counts as one of the most common California crimes. If found guilty, it could result in lasting problems with licenses, jobs, and overall quality of life. Fortunately, the provisions of California law allow defendants the option to have their criminal record or conviction expunged. In this manner, you can resolve some of these issues.

Expunging a DUI conviction is a complex process that requires legal counsel. To prevail, you will need the assistance of a professional DUI lawyer. For example, a lawyer can help you submit the motion and ensure that the proper paperwork is filled out. If you're in Bakersfield and need to expunge your DUI record, you can contact the Koenig Law Office as soon as possible. We will devote our time and resources to help you get another opportunity to live a life free of a DUI record.

Understanding California DUI Expungement

A DUI expungement refers to a court-ordered procedure in which the relevant DUI conviction record or a legal arrest is wiped away per the law. Setting aside the criminal record is another term used for expunging a conviction. Expunction eligibility and the procedure for having an arrest or conviction record erased in California depends on several circumstances, such as the jurisdiction in which the arrest or conviction occurred. Expungement of criminal records is governed by the provisions of California PC 1203.4.

Unlike popular belief, a California DUI conviction doesn't automatically disappear after a certain amount of time. You should file an appeal to the court to have this conviction expunged. If you fail to do so, the conviction remains permanently on your record.

Once the criminal record has been expunged, you can legitimately say ''NO'' to any query about criminal convictions. Furthermore, a prospective employer cannot disqualify you from getting a promotion or job based on your DUI conviction.

Individuals Eligible for a DUI Conviction Expungement

Anybody who has received a DUI conviction, whether it was a misdemeanor or a felony, is eligible to have their record expunged under the following conditions:

  • They completed their probation term for the offense in question
  • They either did not get a sentence of imprisonment for their crime or received one, but under Proposition 47's realignment provisions, they would have received a jail sentence instead
  • They are currently not facing any additional charges

Most California DUI convictions will meet these conditions.

If an offender is currently on probation, they should wait until their sentence term is completed. If a defendant was not sentenced to probation, he/she has a year following their conviction to request that the criminal record be erased. Certain driving offenses such as excessive speeding, reckless driving even without alcohol, wet reckless, and speed competitions are also included with DUI offenses and are similarly expungeable. If you have any doubts, we advise you to double-check your eligibility before starting the process.

The Process of Expunging a DUI Record

After serving your probation term for a DUI conviction, you could appeal to the courts to have your conviction record erased. If you're eligible for the expungement, the court will consider your motion after you have submitted it and approve your request if so.

If the application gets approved, either of the following will happen:

  • You file a new plea of "not guilty" after withdrawing your initial guilty or no-contest plea
  • If you received a sentence following a jury or bench trial, the court will overturn the verdict

When either of these two stages is completed, the court will drop the case. Expunging a DUI record can take 3 to 4 months, depending on the court. What you should do is speak with a qualified DUI attorney who can provide a more exact timeline based on your circumstances.

Since there is no time restriction on requests for DUI expungements, it should be noted that delays could arise and that courts don't give them much attention. In addition, various criminal court cases are subject to a set of legal time limits.

Documents You Should Present When Filing a DUI Expungement Appeal

You will need a case number or docket number, the conviction date, the outcome of the case, the conviction name and code number, how you completed your sentence, and if possible, a court minute order from where you were found guilty or entered the no contest or guilty plea. You should get in touch with a skilled attorney to assist you to get this information if you're unable to find it.

Step-by-Step Process

The following procedures should be followed when seeking expungement relief:

  • The defense attorney will first file an appeal for dismissal in court
  • He or she can also plead with the court to file a motion to allow early termination of probation, if necessary
  • The attorney will then provide the court with an attachment for the petition in which the defendant would have claimed that he/she had not committed any other crimes and that he/she has been a law-abiding resident
  • The defendant can also explain in the attachment how the DUI record erasure will improve their career to benefit them and their family
  • Even if the defendant has to complete the entire probation sentence, a defense attorney can still file an appeal for a dismissal
  • The prosecution and probation departments will then receive all documents about the DUI record erasure so that they have an opportunity to challenge it as required by law

If the petition is approved, the defendant will be issued an Order of Dismissal for the charges.

Early Release from Probation

An offender can have his/her DUI conviction expunged earlier than anticipated if the judge has granted an early termination of the probation sentence. Once the probation period is completed, you'll be eligible for a DUI expungement. It doesn't matter if the probation sentence was terminated early by a judge or if the term had already expired.

Misdemeanor probation for driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol usually lasts three years. However, it can last for as long as five years. Probation for felonies also lasts long. Waiting for 3 or 5 years to reap the benefits of record erasure is quite long. However, the law offers a procedure through which a defendant can have their DUI probation term terminated earlier, for example, after 18 months.

The Advantages of a DUI Expungement

Even though expungement has some advantages, there always remain a few things that it can't do. An individual's criminal record can be erased, but this does not mean that it will never show up in the history records.

This implies that even though it will appear to be erased, your conviction would continue to be visible on your record. This will show everyone who looks at your criminal record that your detention didn't end in a conviction, since expungement ultimately reopens the case and invalidates the conviction.

Regardless of whether your prior DUI charges were expunged, the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) will still have to be aware of them. This is true, especially when it comes to DUI expungements. Convictions that have been erased do not prevent the DMV from suspending or revoking a person's driving privileges. This is because license revocation represents an administrative punishment for a DUI, whereas expungement addresses the criminal aspect of a DUI offense.

Even if your DUI was cleared from your criminal record, you can still qualify for several career perks. However, if operating a motor vehicle is your main responsibility at work, such as when you operate a company truck, then a DUI expungement could cost you your position as well as your commercial driver's license.

Employers aren't allowed to inquire about legal arrests that didn't result in a conviction for any private sector job. If a potential employer asks if you've ever been accused of an offense, you have no obligation to say "yes."

How to Get a DUI Probation Term Terminated Early

Early termination of DUI probation requires filing a petition with the court. If the following conditions are met, the court can approve your petition:

  • You completed all of the requirements for probation. For example, finishing all DUI classes, settling all fines, and paying restitution
  • Several circumstances warrant probation to be terminated early, such as when you need to grow professionally, find lucrative work, or travel to see a loved one who is ill or for business

However, in practice, most magistrates in DUI cases tend to be hesitant to grant a request to end a probation sentence early. One of the few conditions of probation for a DUI conviction is that you can't drive if there are any traces of alcohol in your blood.

In general, courts prefer that it be abundantly clear that you are subject to this requirement for as long as possible. So, most magistrates would want you to finish your probation before they would let you erase your DUI conviction and drop the case.

Will an Expungement Affect the Penalties in the Course of a Subsequent DUI Conviction?

In California, driving under the influence of alcohol is considered a priorable offense. This means that the penalties increase with each additional conviction that is accrued in ten years. This also signifies that a drug- or alcohol-related conviction that has been expunged is considered a “prior.”

Take the following example: It is your very first DUI offense, and you're found guilty of violating Vehicle Code 23152b, driving an automobile with a BAC of 0.08% or higher. The judge grants you a probationary period which you successfully finish. Then, your DUI lawyer works to have your record expunged. However, you are found guilty of drunk driving again a few months later. You will still face the penalties associated with a second DUI charge, even though your first conviction was expunged.

DUI Expungement and Suspension of a Driver's License

sadly, having a DUI conviction expunged will not cause your driver's license suspension or revocation to be lifted. However, a probationary sentence often lasts longer than the duration of a mandatory driving license suspension. A first-time DUI offender, for example, should expect three to five years of probation and a license suspension of six months.

However, the driver's license suspension time rarely exceeds the probationary period, for instance, if the driver's permit has been permanently revoked. The revoked driving privileges will not be restored in situations like this even if the DUI record is expunged.

It's important to keep in mind that expunging your DUI conviction won't get it off the DMV database. Additionally, because the DUI will remain on the Department of Motor Vehicle record for 10 years after expungement, you won't be able to apply for driving jobs with Uber or Lyft.

It's also important to remember that getting a DUI expunged won't affect your vehicle insurance premiums. Your driving history will still be visible on insurance databases even after your criminal record has been expunged. As a result, it has no bearing on the auto insurance premiums you receive from insurance companies.

Limitations of a California DUI Expungement

The DMV, law enforcement, and court databases still have information about a DUI expungement. Additionally, the DMV may utilize this information to extend the period during which your driver's license would be suspended after you've been charged with a second DUI within 10 years of your expunged record. Additionally, the presiding judge will consider it a "strike"  when determining the appropriate sentence.

When seeking licenses to practice or for jobs with the government, you'll still be required to disclose previous convictions for driving under the influence. A DUI conviction that has been expunged will typically not bar you from applying for most professional licenses.

Finding Work After a DUI Expungement in California

Having a DUI charge removed from your driving record can help you in many ways, including making it easier to get to work. The expungement of a conviction for driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol prohibits a prospective employer from using it as justification for unfavorable employment consequences.

According to the "ban the box" law, employers are not allowed to inquire about a candidate's criminal record or arrest history either during the hiring process or before making a conditional offer of employment. However, it is not necessary to disclose an expunged conviction in any way. Additionally, if your employer stumbles across it somehow, they cannot legally use it to serve as a basis for any choices regarding your job, including for your retention or promotion.

Despite this, you will still be required to reveal a DUI conviction when applying for teaching qualifications or state licensure, even if the conviction was expunged from your record. Please be aware that a professional licensing board could consider your expunged record while deciding whether to reinstate, issue, or extend your license to practice. However, since the record has been expunged, it could look positive on your application.

What a DUI Lawyer Can Do to Help

You require a DUI record expungement lawyer if you would like to get an expungement for your DUI conviction. For starters, the legislative requirements for expunging convictions for drunk driving have become stricter than other records. The judge must demonstrate that it is in the best interests of justice to expunge the record. Your request to have the record expunged is up to the judge's discretion, and it is quite likely that the prosecution will challenge it. A knowledgeable lawyer is essential to the success of a case like this.

It is recommended that you seek the assistance of an attorney experienced in record expungement while preparing and submitting your petition. A lot of people who attempt to submit a petition on their own make mistakes. As a result, they have to spend even more money on legal representation to file a request for reconsideration and attempt to correct their errors. All of this can be avoided if you simply consult an attorney.

What Kinds Of Expungements Can Be Obtained?

In California, there are three different types of expungements that you can use to seal your record:

California PC 1203.4

According to this statute, DUI convictions that resulted in probationary sentences can be expunged.

California PC 1203.4a

This provision enables persons who've been found guilty of drunk driving and received a sentence that did not include probation terms to have their convictions expunged.

California PC 17

This provision enables persons who've been found guilty of felony Driving Under the Influence to have their conviction lowered to a misdemeanor charge, and subsequently have that misdemeanor expunged.

What Should I Do If I Have More Than One DUI?

A conviction for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs can have significant repercussions for your life, although one thing you could do is get that conviction expunged from your record. A DUI is usually sufficient to deter most people from driving while intoxicated in the future. However, there are those people who continue to make the same mistake.

Even repeated DUI convictions can be expunged under certain circumstances. If you have never served time in prison for a DUI conviction, there is no cap on the number of times you can have that conviction erased. A jail term does not constitute prison time.

While many DUI convictions are eligible for expunction, it's important to remember that the process becomes more challenging with each additional conviction. If you have been convicted of more than one DUI, you will need to show the judge that you've learned from your mistakes by providing further proof of rehabilitation.

Talk to an attorney about your options for expunging numerous DUIs and if your situation qualifies.

Will a Conviction for Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol Be Removed from Your Record Automatically After Ten Years?

Perhaps you've heard that a conviction for driving under the influence is expunged from your driving record after 10 years. This is not true, and the conviction will stay on file until it is expunged from your criminal history. The only options you have to get your DUI off of your record are by using PC 1203.4 and asking the court to discharge the conviction.

If asked on employment applications whether you've ever been found guilty of a DUI, you are not permitted to respond "no" till you have had your DUI conviction erased from your record. Additionally, your DUI conviction will continue to appear on every background check. While the DUI won't automatically be expunged from the record after 10 years, it'll be dismissed from the DMV database.

What Kind of Records Will an Employer See Once Your DUI Has been Expunged?

Once you have your DUI expunged, a prospective employer won't see it. There are 2 different categories of background checks, though.

Fingerprint-based Background Checks

Fingerprint-based background checks use fingerprints and necessitate a live scan. This form of screening is quite intrusive because it gives the employer access to your entire criminal record, including your DUI arrest, convictions, and expungements.

Fortunately, this form of investigation into one's past is only authorized for a tiny handful of entities. Such organizations would include occupations involving minors and professions where workers receive wages using public funds.

Background Checks Using Social Security Numbers

Almost all employers use this method. This particular kind of background check just requires your Social Security number. On these types of background checks, the expunged record will be fully removed, which means the employer won't even be aware that it ever happened. Once the DUI conviction is expunged, you can rest assured that it will not show up in any future background checks.

Find a Bakersfield DUI Lawyer Near Me

If you want to avoid the stigma that comes with having a criminal record, you could look into expunging it. At the Koenig Law Office, we support second chances and approach situations involving the expungement of a DUI record seriously. If you'll let us help, we can get you out of this predicament so you can return to your normal life.

We advise against going through the procedure by yourself, as it could be complicated and cause you to make mistakes. Mistakes could end up costing you a great deal of time and money. If you want to have your DUI criminal record expunged, don't hesitate to call our Bakersfield DUI expungement attorneys at 661-793-7222.