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and your Freedom

DUI Expungement in California: Clearing Your Record for a Fresh Start


If you were convicted of driving under the influence in California, your life was likely affected in many ways. From costly fines and DUI school to license suspension and jail time, a first-offense DUI results in a variety of penalties.

But now that you’ve completed your sentence, you may wonder when you’ll stop paying the price of your DUI, especially if employers and landlords have turned you down due to your record. The good news is that most DUIs are eligible for expungement in California. Consider what this means for you and how a DUI lawyer can help.

What Does Expungement Do?

When you expunge a crime from your criminal record, it will no longer be visible as a conviction on most background checks. This means when a landlord, lender, employer, or college performs a background check on you, the expunged crime will not show up.

Additionally, when you fill out a job application, you no longer have to admit that you’ve been convicted of a crime once it’s been expunged. So, if you’re tired of being judged based on one mistake you made years ago, you should consider DUI expungement.

It’s important to know that while expungement means a DUI won’t show up on a background check, it doesn’t make the crime disappear completely. It could become relevant again if you’re arrested for DUI within the next ten years. This is because a DUI is a priorable offense, which means if you’re charged with DUI again after having your first one expunged, your latest charge will be treated as a second offense.

So, expunging one conviction won’t help much if you are repeatedly arrested and charged with crimes. But if your DUI is your only conviction and you’re careful to stay out of legal trouble, getting it expunged can prevent you from continuing to suffer the effects of your DUI for years to come.

Are You Eligible to Expunge Your DUI?

If expunging your DUI would benefit you, determining if you qualify for this process is the next step. In California, you can get your DUI expunged as long as it’s a misdemeanor or felony for which you did not have to spend time in state prison.

So, if you caused a fatal accident or were convicted of a fourth DUI in ten years, you’re likely not eligible to get your DUI expunged. But if you avoided jail time or served your sentence in county jail, you’re likely eligible to expunge it once you’ve completed all the sentencing requirements.

This means that before you can pursue expungement, you must ensure you’ve paid all your fines, finished DUI school, and completed the probation period without any new arrests. For California DUIs, probation can last three to five years, so expect to wait about this long before expunging the DUI.

If you were not put on probation, you will have to wait at least one year before expunging the crime. An experienced criminal defense lawyer can let you know if you qualify for expungement and then walk you through the process if you do.

How Can You Get Your DUI Expunged?

If you believe you’re eligible to expunge your DUI, you should contact California criminal defense attorneys as soon as your probation period is over. They will ensure you’re eligible before completing and filing the paperwork with the court.

Once your lawyer petitions the court for DUI expungement, a judge will review the form and either grant or deny the request. If the request is granted, your lawyer will help you withdraw your guilty plea and replace it with a not-guilty plea. At that point, the judge will dismiss the DUI case.

If you want to find out if your DUI can be expunged, contact Patrick Silva, Attorneys at Law for a free consultation. Our team will review your case to make sure you’ve met the sentencing requirements and are done with probation. Then we’ll handle the process for you, ensuring all the forms are completed and filed correctly and deadlines are met. If you’re ready to learn more about expunging your California DUI conviction, call us at 909-500-4819 to talk to caring lawyers.

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