You can expunge your DUI from your record by filing a petition for dismissal under Penal Code 1203.4. However, you must complete your probation. A successful petition will remove the conviction from your criminal record. However, the conviction remains visible in certain circumstances, for example, when applying for a professional license or security clearance. It is recommended to consult with an attorney for further guidance on the expungement process.

Candidates Eligible for Expungement

You are eligible to have a DUI conviction expunged from your criminal record if you:

  • Complete your probation.
  • Pay all fines and restitution, and
  • Are not currently facing any criminal charges.
  • Should not have served time in prison for the offense — Thanks to Proposition 47, individuals convicted for offenses under the realignment law would end up in jail rather than prison.
  • You must not have committed any new crimes.

Note: Eligibility requirements vary depending on the facts of the case. A case evaluation from an attorney is necessary. He/she will guide you on whether or not you are eligible for expungement.

Realignment Under Proposition 47

Proposition 47, passed in 2014, allows for the realignment of certain non-violent, non-serious felony offenses to misdemeanors. This means that some offenses previously classified as felonies, like drug possession, theft of property worth less than $950, and forgery of checks worth less than $950, are now classified as misdemeanors.

Realignment under Proposition 47 can significantly impact individuals who have been convicted of these offenses. It can reduce the severity of the crime and the corresponding penalties.

In addition to the reclassification of certain offenses, Proposition 47 also established a process for individuals who have already been convicted of these offenses to petition for resentencing and reclassification of their conviction. This can allow individuals to have their sentences reduced and avoid some long-term consequences of a felony conviction.

Note: Not all offenses are eligible for realignment under Proposition 47. Further, not all individuals who have been convicted of eligible crimes will be granted resentencing.

How a DUI Expungement Works

After completing probation for a DUI, requesting an expungement of the conviction is possible by filing a petition with the court. A judge will review the petition and assess if the individual is eligible for expungement.

You should file a petition for dismissal under PC 1203.4 with the court where the conviction occurred. The petition requests that the court dismiss the conviction and re-open the case. If approved,you must withdraw your guilty or no contest plea and enter a not guilty plea. The judge could also set aside the guilty verdict if the case was decided through a jury or bench trial. The judge will then dismiss the case, effectively expunging a DUI conviction from your record.

A clean record helps with employment, housing, and other opportunities. However, the expungement does not seal or erase the conviction. It is visible in certain circumstances, including when applying for a professional license or security clearance.

  1. "Nolo Contendere" (No Contest)

Pleading "nolo contendere" or no contest to a DUI charge is treated the same as a guilty plea for the purposes of an expungement. Thus, if you plead no contest to a DUI charge, you qualify for expungement.

As previously mentioned, an expungement is not the same as a sealing or deleting of your records.  Therefore, your conviction will:

  • Show up on certain background checks and
  • Be used as a prior offense if you are charged with DUI in the future.

Additionally, expungement does not restore your driving privileges. You will need to follow the appropriate procedures issued by the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to obtain a driver's license after a DUI conviction.

  1. Jury Trial or a Bench Trial

Defendants have the right to choose between jury or bench trials. The Sixth Amendment allows for a jury trial. However, defendants can waive this right and opt for a bench trial.

Should you choose to have a jury trial, a group of people selected from the community will hear the evidence presented by both the prosecution and your defense team. The jury will determine your guilt or innocence based on the case, as demonstrated by the prosecution and the defense. The jury will have to decide whether or not you drove under the influence of alcohol or drugs and whether your ability to drive was impaired to an appreciable degree.

The judge will hear the evidence if you waive your rights to a jury trial and opt for a bench trial. His/her decision about your guilt will be based on the law and the facts of the case. The judge will determine whether the prosecution has proven beyond a reasonable doubt that you were driving under the influence.

Impact of an Expungement on Your Ability to Secure Employment

Expunging a DUI conviction from your record eases your ability to secure employment. However, it is not guaranteed. Many employers conduct background checks on job applicants. While an expunged DUI could not appear on a criminal record check, it will be disclosed in certain circumstances, which include when applying for a job that requires a security clearance or a professional license.

Having a DUI expunged from your record can show potential employers that you have taken responsibility for your actions and completed the probation terms. It also demonstrates that you have made efforts to turn your life around, which employers can view positively.

Whether or not expunging a DUI conviction will make it easier to find a job depends on various factors, including the type of job you are applying for and the specific employer's hiring policies.

California's "Ban the Box" Law

California's "ban the box" law is a regulation prohibiting employers from asking job applicants about their criminal history on a job application or during the initial stage of the hiring process. This law aims to reduce discrimination against job seekers with criminal records and give them a fair chance at obtaining employment.

Under Assembly Bill 1008, employers in California can only inquire about an applicant's criminal history after making a conditional job offer. If an employer decides not to hire an applicant based on their criminal history, they must provide the applicant with a notice explaining their decision and give the applicant an opportunity to respond.

The law applies to all employers in California with five or more employees, including state and local governments. However, there are some exceptions. These include jobs required by law to conduct background checks, like those working with children or vulnerable adults.

California's "ban the box" law promotes fair employment practices. It allows individuals with criminal records to compete for jobs based on their qualifications and experience rather than their past mistakes.

Jobs You Cannot Secure With a DUI

A DUI on your record limits your job opportunities, particularly in professions requiring high trust, responsibility, and safety. Here are some examples of jobs you cannot secure with a DUI conviction on your record:

  • Commercial driver — If you have a DUI on your record, you cannot obtain a commercial driver's license (CDL) or work as a truck driver, ride-share driver, bus driver, or other commercial driving opportunities.
  • Healthcare jobs — Jobs in the healthcare industry, like nursing, being a doctor, or pharmacists, are more challenging to secure with a DUI conviction on your record.
  • Law enforcement — It is difficult to become a law enforcement officer or other related professions, including military service, with a DUI on your record.
  • Education — Some schools and universities require employees to pass a background check, which includes a DUI conviction.
  • Finance — If you seek employment in the finance industry, a DUI conviction could be seen as a red flag and disqualify you from certain positions.

These are just examples. The impact of a DUI conviction on your job opportunities will depend on various factors, including the specific employer's policies and the nature of the job. Additionally, in some cases, an expungement of the DUI conviction from your record could improve your job prospects.

Does Expungement Help Get Back Your Driver’s License?

Expunging a DUI conviction from your criminal record will not automatically help you get back your driver's license. However, it may indirectly improve your chances of getting your license reinstated.

Your driver's license is typically suspended or revoked when you are convicted of a DUI. The length of the suspension or revocation depends on the circumstances of your case. The DMV considers whether it was a first-time or repeat offense in its decision. You may need to complete specific requirements to get your license back. The DMV could require you to attend a DUI school, pay fines and fees, or serve a suspension or revocation period.

An expungement could help you get your driver's license reinstated because it can make it easier for you to find a job or apply for a professional license. If you can obtain employment, you can effortlessly pay your fines and fees, which can help you meet the requirements to reinstate your license.

Additionally, if your license was suspended because of a court order resulting from your DUI conviction, and the court grants your petition for expungement, it is possible to petition the court to modify the order to allow for license reinstatement.

In summary, expunging a DUI conviction could not directly help you secure your driver's license. However, it can improve your employment prospects and indirectly improve your chances of meeting the requirements to reinstate your license.

Does Expungement Affect the Penalties Imposed in a Subsequent DUI Conviction?

If you receive another DUI conviction after your previous one has been expunged, the expungement will affect the penalties for the new DUI offense. DUI is a priorable offense, meaning you are subject to a penalty increase if you commit a subsequent DUI offense within ten years of your prior conviction. 

In general, expungement of a DUI conviction only affects the penalties and consequences associated with the prior conviction. It does not provide immunity or protection from penalties related to future DUI offenses. It is important to make responsible choices and avoid drinking and driving to prevent future DUI offenses and their associated consequences.

Can an Early Probation Termination Help Expunge a Conviction Earlier?

Early termination of probation could help you become eligible for expungement of your DUI conviction earlier than you would be otherwise. One of the eligibility requirements for expungement is that you have completed probation or obtained early termination of probation.

You qualify for early termination of probation if you have completed at least half of your probation period and have met all of the conditions of your probation, like attending alcohol education classes and paying fines and fees. Additionally, you must show that early termination of probation is in the interests of justice.

If your probation is terminated early, and you have completed all of the requirements of your sentence, you can petition the court for expungement of your DUI conviction earlier than you would be able to if you had completed the full probation period.

However, early termination of probation and expungement of a DUI conviction are not automatic. You must follow the appropriate legal procedures and meet the eligibility requirements to obtain these outcomes. Consulting with an experienced attorney can help you navigate the legal process and determine your situation's best course of action.

How to Secure an Early Termination of DUI Probation in California

Early termination of DUI probation is possible under certain circumstances. To request early probation termination, you must follow the appropriate legal procedures and demonstrate that you have met all your probation conditions, including completing any required classes, community service, or other obligations.

Here are the general steps to follow to request early termination of DUI probation:

  • Consult with an experienced DUI defense attorney who can review your case and advise you on your eligibility for early termination of probation.
  • Prepare a written request for early termination of probation. It should explain your reasons for the application. You should also provide evidence of your compliance with the terms of your probation. The evidence includes certificates of completion for any required programs, proof of payment of fines and fees, and other relevant documents.
  • File the written request with the court that oversaw your DUI case — Depending on the court, you must pay a filing fee.
  • Attend a hearing on your request for early termination of probation — You should present evidence and make arguments to the court to support your request.

If the court grants your request, you will be released from probation early. If you have also completed all other requirements of your sentence, you qualify to petition the courts for expungement of your DUI conviction.

It is worth noting that early termination of probation is not guaranteed. Courts consider a variety of factors when deciding whether to grant a request. Work with an experienced attorney to help you navigate the legal process and increase your chances of a successful outcome.

Benefits of Expungement

Expungement of a criminal record in California can have several benefits, including:

  1. Securing Employment

One of the main benefits of expungement is improving your employment prospects. With an expunged record, you could legally answer "no" to questions about whether you have ever been convicted of a crime. This will help you avoid disqualification from job opportunities.

  1. Securing Housing

An expunged record also improves your chances of securing a house. Property managers and landlords conduct background checks on potential tenants. Expungement can help mitigate concerns they have about renting to someone with a criminal record.

  1. Obtaining Licensing

An expunged record can also benefit individuals seeking professional licenses or certifications. These include nursing, teaching, or practicing law. Some licensing boards require applicants to disclose their criminal history. Expungement helps mitigate concerns that could lead to a denial of a license or certification.

  1. Voting Rights

An expungement restores your right to vote if you lose your voting rights due to a felony conviction.

  1. Peace of Mind

Expungement can provide individuals with a sense of closure and peace of mind, knowing that their criminal record has been cleared or modified. It can help individuals overcome past mistakes and start fresh with a clean slate.

Importantly, expungement does not completely erase a criminal record, and the conviction could be visible to specific employers, law enforcement agencies, and other entities. However, the benefits of expungement can still be significant. It is worth considering if you are eligible.

Find a Los Angeles Record Expungement Attorney Near Me

The expungement process is elaborate and complex. Navigating through it is challenging. However, an experienced expungement attorney will help you navigate the process and secure the best outcome. At Record Expungement Attorney, we have the requisite experience needed by individuals looking to expunge their Los Angeles DUI convictions from the record. If you are looking for these services, call us today at 424-286-1516. Our team is ready to evaluate your case and advise you on your best legal option, including filing the petition to have your DUI conviction expunged.