WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
Living with a California DUI conviction is not easy. Most people know that the immediate penalties imposed by the court and the DMV are expensive and disrupt the defendant’s daily life for many years. But people don’t realize how the negative consequences of a DUI conviction can continue for years after the case is finished.
Long after the thousands of dollars in fines, costs, and fees are paid, and restrictions on the driver’s license are finally lifted, California DUI convictions can legally result in the driver losing opportunities for a good job, a bank loan, affordable insurance, a professional license, freedom to travel, and more. If you have to answer “Yes,” on an application asking if you have ever been convicted of a crime, your chances of getting your application approved shrink dramatically.
If you were convicted of DUI in California, you could clear your DUI record with the help of an experienced California DUI Expungement lawyer. At the Law Offices of Hart J. Levin, we have over 60+ years of combined experience expunging the record for drivers with DUI convictions.
The Benefits of
Getting a DUI Expunged
Drivers who get their DUI convictions expunged feel like a huge burden has been lifted from their shoulders. Without a record of conviction following them, thousands of people regain the full respect of society and their good name.
Some of the major benefits of expunging your DUI conviction include the following:
- *Answering “No” when asked if you had a criminal conviction
- *Clean background checks
- *Employment benefits
- *Increased chance of getting hired
- *Higher likelihood of winning promotions
- *Eligible for jobs involving schools, children, medical facilities, or driving
- *Business reputation improved
- *Banks and other lenders are more likely to approve applications
- *Neighbors and social acquaintances hold higher opinions of you
- *Being able to lease an apartment
- *Immigration visas are no longer in jeopardy
- *Security clearance more likely to be granted.
Getting a DUI Expunged in California
Expunging a California DUI conviction is a legal process in which the driver’s DUI case file is brought back before a judge to determine whether the person who was the defendant has satisfied all of the requirements associated with the sentence and is otherwise eligible to have the public records of the DUI conviction destroyed.
Expunging a DUI v. Sealing a DUI
Expunging a DUI record is different from sealing the record. When a DUI is “sealed” by the court, all the documents continue to exist, but the file is sealed from public view. Expunging the records of a DUI conviction in California means the record of your conviction is erased from public view. With only a few exceptions, you are legally entitled to deny any conviction ever occurred.
Only the police and the DMV keep a non-public record in case the driver has another DUI or alcohol or drug-related driving offense within 10 years from the date of the incident on record. Keeping these records is the only method authorities have of tracking a repeat offender who may have expunged their previous DUI conviction.
Who Is Eligible to Expunge
a California DUI Conviction?
The law in California permits a wide range of DUI convictions to be expunged. The record of a DUI conviction can be expunged from the record when:
*You are no longer on probation and have completed all the terms of probation
*Paid all fines, fees, and restitution
*Completed any required counseling or educational programs required (Adult Alcohol Education Training Programs, AA or NA meetings and/or Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) program)
*Completed court-ordered community service
*Complied with any court-ordered drug testing regimens.
*Your DUI sentence: a) did not require you to serve time in state prison for the offense, or b) you could have served your sentence in county jail if your offense were committed after Proposition 47 was approved and became law.
*You do not have any pending criminal charges
*You are not serving a sentence or probation for another offense
Both misdemeanor and felony DUIs are eligible for expungement in California. The conditions for eligibility are the same. Drivers who have been convicted of a sex offense involving a child are not eligible to expunge a DUI conviction.
What DUI Charges Cannot Be Expunged?
In California, a DUI can be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the circumstances of the case. While many felony DUIs can still qualify for expungement, others will be barred if the conviction resulted in a state prison sentence that would not have been affected by the Proposition 47 changes in the law.
Some DUI sentences were affected by accompanying drug charges that led to a defendant serving time in state prison. Because of the way Prop 47 changed the law, many cases in which the defendant served prison time are now punishable by reduced or misdemeanor sentences. The adjusted sentences could now be served in county jail. However, drivers with felony DUIs involving serious injuries or death that resulted in substantial prison sentences.
Different DUI Expungement Scenarios
All DUI cases share some common features, but every individual case is different. When thinking about expungement, important factors include the number of prior convictions the driver has within a 10-year period, whether the DUI involved serious injury or death, and whether the driver has other pending charges or sentences.
These factors all relate to the possible sentences imposed for the DUI conviction. For example, a 4th offense DUI within 10 years will be charged as a felony, and with aggravating circumstances, could result in a prison sentence of up to 3+ years. Such a case would not be affected enough by Prop 47 to permit the sentence to have been served in county jail.
It’s also true that some 1st or 2nd offense DUI convictions with a serious injury or death and other aggravating circumstances may result in a long enough prison sentence to make expungement impossible under current California law.
But contacting the expert DUI expungement lawyers at the Law Offices of Hart J. Levin is still a good idea. Errors in your case, or other avenues of relief might bring your case down to a level at which expungement could be possible.
Only by speaking with Attorney Hart J. Levin or one of his expert California DUI attorneys will you find out if your DUI case can be expunged.
The Importance of Having an Experienced DUI Expungement Attorney
The law in California is filled with exceptions and special circumstances that must be thoroughly considered before pressing your expungement petition. If you try and fail to get your conviction expunged, the court will not look favorably on repeated attempts to expunge. That’s why it is critical to get it done right the first time. Once the judge has denied an expungement motion, the odds of them denying any future motions are much higher.
Expunging your DUI conviction is too important to trust to an inexperienced lawyer or to attempt without a skilled attorney. Hart J. Levin and his expert team of attorneys have devoted their professional careers to mastering the law that is key to your success. DUI is unlike any other criminal offense because it involves so many technical elements, any one of which can make the difference between a defendant going to jail or going home to their family.
There’s no room for error when it comes to your life and expunging your DUI conviction. You need the best lawyer in California handling DUIs and DUI expungement: Call the Law Offices of Hart J. Levin.
FAQs: California DUI Expungement
The cost of expunging a DUI in California can vary from as low as $400 or $500 dollars to as much as $2,500, depending on the complexity of the circumstances. A first offense DUI conviction with no complicating factors would be the least expensive to expunge. But another case involving a multiple offender whose sentence is affected by Prop 47 and who may have suffered a probation violation while serving the DUI sentence requires much more expertise and intense legal work..
A thorough background check can reveal the DUI arrest event, but no indication of a conviction will appear. The mere fact of the arrest is not evidence of guilt, and an expunged conviction entitles the driver to deny there was any conviction.
It’s important to note that under California’s Ban the Box law, no employer can ask any job candidate about prior arrests or convictions until after an employment offer has been extended to the applicant.
Typically, an expungement will take between 6 and 8 weeks in a simple case. When additional complications or special legal issues are involved, the process can require additional time.
The law does not specifically require you to hire an attorney to handle your expungement, but if you try on your own and it gets denied for any reason, it may not be fixable by an attorney later on since the judge has already taken a negative viewpoint on the defendant and their case. However, considering the importance of the expungement to the rest of your life, hiring an expert who has years of valuable experience successfully expunging DUI convictions should be a priority.
What may seem simple from a distance can become impossibly complex once someone gets into the legal system. No one should attempt to accomplish something as important as expunging a DUI conviction without the best legal counsel they can get.