Anyone can commit a DUI offense without the intention to break the law. An unprecedented visit to the pub with friends can render you more intoxicated than you recognize, so if the cop stops you, you could be charged with DUI, which could have long-term consequences for your future. Some of the consequences of a DUI conviction are incarceration, fines, and revocation or suspension of your driver's license. If the arrest and/or conviction shows up in your criminal record, you might find it hard to seek employment, further professional licenses, among other challenges. So, you should consider expunging your DUI to try and avoid these challenges. In this blog, we will explore how to expunge your record, the conditions, and overall implications.
What Are the Consequences of a DUI on Your Future?
Operating a motor vehicle in California is unlawful if your blood alcohol content (BAC) is 0.08 percent or higher. When driving a commercial vehicle, your blood alcohol content (BAC) threshold is 0.04 percent.
Furthermore, when you're under the age of 21, a blood alcohol content of more than 0.01 percent can land you in trouble. Even if you get convicted as a first-time offender, you may be subject to the following penalties:
A maximum of six months in jail
A six-month suspension of your driver’s license. If you refuse to submit to a breath test, you will be subject to an administrative suspension of one year—probationary status lasting between three to five years. You will need to finish a DUI school program that takes three months as a requirement of your probation. If your blood alcohol content was 20 percent or higher upon your arrest, the program might extend to nine months.
Repeat offenders face a prolonged jail time, an extended license suspension, and a longer period of attendance at DUI schools than first-time offenders. Moreover, you will have a criminal record that will negatively impact your future privileges and rights in addition to the penalties listed above.
When a potential employer, leaseholder, or certification entity conducts a background check on you, your DUI guilty verdict may come up on the list. If you get embroiled in a controversial divorce, it may have an impact on your likelihood of obtaining custody of your minor children.
Many people believe that being convicted of DUI is similar to having a dark mark on your credit file. As time goes by, the mark becomes less meaningful and ultimately disappears completely. It is not correct. Any conviction will remain on your documentation for the rest of your life. A vengeful spouse can use the mistake you made during your 21st birthday against you during a custody battle years later.
The best par is that, depending on the circumstances, you might well be able to have the DUI conviction expunged from your rap sheet completely. Nevertheless, the process is complex, and working with a professional California expungement attorney will give you the greatest chance of winning.
Advantages of Expunging a DUI
You should consider expunging your DUI for these reasons:
It informs potential employers that you have not been convicted of crimes
You gain eligibility for several professional licenses
You can apply for an adjustment in immigration status with greater confidence
It informs your friends and family members that you are free from a criminal conviction
You no longer need to feel afraid or humiliated when someone conducts a background investigation on you
Getting a DUI Off Your Record
A sentenced offender might well be allowed to have their criminal history expunged if they meet certain requirements. This means that when prospective employers, lenders, landlords, or regular citizens conduct a background investigation on you, your DUI guilty verdict would no longer be noticeable on the background check results.
An expungement doesn't necessarily imply that your criminal record is entirely removed; it might be visible to court officers and law enforcement officers who are investigating whether or not you have a criminal history in the first place. A DUI guilty verdict will also appear on your California DMV documentation for the rest of your life. When you are prosecuted with a second DUI within ten years from your first sentence, the DMV might lengthen the duration of your license revocation.
Although the expungement conceals or covers your police record from the public at large, you still need to declare your sentence and expungement when applying for professional certification or employment in the public sector.
This involves applying for a judicial or law enforcement post and a role in the United States military and a property investment or regional bar license.
On the other hand, an expungement normally allows you to reapply for a governmental or professional certification (if you didn't face a felony charge).
Your wrongdoings will be virtually unnoticeable, except for a few specific instances. However, note that if you fail to file for an expungement, the DUI conviction will remain in your driving record for ten years.
The Documents Needed for an Expungement
The court that found you guilty or where you filed your guilty verdict or your plea of nolo contendere will provide you with your case number and, if possible, a copy of the minute order. If you don't have your case details, your expungement attorney will assist you with researching your situation.
The Process of Expungement
When applying for expungement relief:
First and foremost, your lawyer will file for a plea for dismissal
If necessary, your legal representative can also file a petition with the court to have an early termination of your probation if it is deemed necessary
The offender will also need to attach a statement to their petition stating that your record is clear from conviction of any further criminal acts and that you've been an active member of your community. It would be best to express further how the clearance will help you advance your professional career, both for your advantage and that of your family
Your attorney can still initiate the Petition for Expungement even when the offender has to wait until the end of your probationary period to get the dismissal
The attorney has to ensure that the probation and prosecution departments receive all paperwork about the clearance on time to provide them with a chance to challenge it as legally required
Upon approval of the request, you will receive an Order of Dismissal
Eligibility for a DUI Expungement
Some DUI convictions are ineligible for expungement, while others are. Your DUI conviction will not be expunged from your criminal record if it was tried and convicted as a felony and you got jailed in state prison as a result of it. If your DUI led to an accident that resulted in death or serious injury, or if you have received a minimum of three previous convictions over the last ten years, you may face felony charges.
Your expungement attorney will help you determine your eligibility for a DUI Expungement.
When Can a California DUI Be Expunged From Your Record?
If you have completed all of your probation requirements, you may apply to have your DUI record deleted the moment you complete your probation. Depending on the situation, the following terms may apply:
Attendance at a DUI school
Payment of all penalties and fines
Execution of community outreach requirements
DUI offenders in California should serve a minimum of three years on probation. While it is possible to request an early closure of your parole, this is extremely difficult to accomplish because both the court system and law enforcers typically take a hardline attitude in DUI situations
If you weren't sentenced to probation, you should wait for one year after your conviction date before applying for expungement.
Getting an Early DUI Probation Termination
To obtain an early closure of DUI parole, the individual on probation should file a request with the judiciary requesting early termination. The tribunal has the option to approve the petition when the following conditions are met:
The accused has finished the conditions of probation (like restitution, fines, or classes), and
There are compelling reasons to do so, such as the need to:
obtain gainful employment
progress in your career
travel for work purposes or to attend to ailing family members
Most judges are hesitant to award a withdrawal of parole in a case involving DUI because of the potential consequences. One of its conditions of parole for a violation involving driving while intoxicated is that the offender cannot operate a motor vehicle while having any detectable level of liquor in their bloodstream. In general, judges prefer seeing the defendant tied by this condition as long as necessary if at all possible.
As a result, most courts require the offender to fulfill the entirety of their probationary period before issuing a Penal Code 1203.4 DUI expungement and dropping the case. However, the court can grant an early probation termination, for example, after 18 months.
What Happens if You Get Detained for DUI After Getting an Expungement in California?
DUI offenses in California are 'priorable,' which means that the consequences rise with each subsequent guilty verdict across a ten-year timeframe, even if the offense is expunged from your record.
Example: When you're a first-time DUI offender and effectively expunge your guilty verdict, you will face prosecution if you commit the same crime in ten years following your first arrest.
How Long Does It Take To Have a DUI Conviction Expunged?
Generally, it takes between 3 and 4 months; however, the length of time varies by court. Your expungement attorney can provide you with a more precise time range based on the specifics of your case. You should know that delays might occur and that expungement petitions are not a primary concern for courts because there is no "deadline" for expungement requests. However, there is a "set limit" for almost all remaining criminal court procedures prescribed by law.
The DUI Expungement and Driver’s License
A DUI conviction expungement, according to PC 1203.4, will NOT reverse a driver's license discontinuation or cancellation.
However, in most circumstances, probation lasts for a more extended period than the statutory suspended driver's license for a DUI conviction. The first DUI conviction, for example, may result in a license suspension lasting six months and a term of 3 to 5 years of probation.
A license suspension could last longer than the probation period in some instances, though, like when the license is permanently revoked. Even in such a circumstance, an expungement will not be sufficient to reinstate lost driving rights.
DUI Expungement and Car Insurance Rates
It is crucial to know that having your DUI conviction expunged will not impact your insurance premiums, including your auto insurance. The expungement of your DUI conviction will not seal or erase your vehicle driving information from insurance company systems. As a result, it has no impact on the insurance providers' pricing for auto insurance.
Is It Necessary to Hire an Expungement Attorney?
Although it is not required by law, it is strongly encouraged. The majority of people who attempt to petition for expungements personally do so in error, which results in a denial. Afterward, they'll need to spend even more money on legal representation to file a petition for reconsideration, which will be accompanied by a new, rectified request for expungement.
Before issuing an expungement, the courts must have a conviction that the step is in the best interests of justice. Also, no judge desires to give a perception of being sympathetic in DUI convictions. You'll need legal representation from someone with extensive experience, preferably somebody with deep expertise in expunging DUI records.
Find a DUI Expungement Attorney Near Me
A DUI expungement can be a challenging process if you don’t have expertise in expunging criminal records. We at Record Expungement Attorney are here to simplify this process and ensure you don’t make any mistakes while expunging your DUI. If you are in the Los Angeles area, you can talk to us at 424-286-1516 so that we can begin the expungement process.