In previous posts I’ve explained basic California expungement law.  For general eligibility requirements please visit: http://www.530attorneys.com/expungements/.  Although my previous articles discuss what a California expungement is, it’s worth noting before beginning the discussion on DUI expungements that California does not have a true expungement statute.  Instead, California does not remove convictions from one’s record, it simply “dismisses” the case pursuant to the applicable Penal Code.  I will refer to these dismissals as “expungements” for purposes of this article, but it’s important to realize the difference.  The above links provide more insight about this.

If you’re looking for information on misdemeanor DUI expungements, you’re in in the right place.  Until 2012, DUI expungements were treated the same as most other misdemeanor expungements.  Today, misdemeanor DUI expungements, unlike most misdemeanor conviction expungements, are not automatically granted even if the person satisfies all of the standard requirements for expungement eligibility.  The Penal Code that allows for misdemeanor expungements, 1203.4, now includes this language: “(c)(1) Except as provided in paragraph (2), subdivision (a) does not apply to a person who receives a notice to appear or is otherwise charged with a violation of an offense described in subdivisions (a) to (e), inclusive, of Section 12810 of the Vehicle Code.”  Veh. Code Section 12810(b) lists the DUI offenses, thus making the standard expungement code section inapplicable to DUIs.  Fortunately, the Legislature also included another subdivision, (c)(2), which provides: “If a defendant who was convicted of a violation listed in paragraph (1) petitions the court, the court in its discretion and in the interests of justice, may order the relief provided pursuant to subdivision (a) to that defendant.” (emphasis added)

Now, in addition to the standard eligibility requirements such as: 1) paying off all fines, fees, and restitution; 2) Not currently being on probation, parole, or charged with another crime, the person seeking a DUI expungement must demonstrate that it would be “in the interests of justice” for the court to exercise it’s discretion to grant the expungement.  As you can see, unlike most other misdemeanors, DUI expungements add an additional component to the eligibility assessment.

The first step a person seeking a DUI expungement should take is to speak with a local criminal defense lawyer.  A local defense attorney can best advise the person regarding that person’s eligibility in the county of the conviction.  The lawyer will first want to know if you have satisfied the basic requirements for misdemeanor expungements.  Please refer to the above links for the basic misdemeanor expungement eligibility requirements.  The second thing a lawyer will want to discuss is how to go about demonstrating to the court that it would be in the interests of justice for the court to grant you an expungement.  Remember, the DUI expungement is discretionary, not mandatory for the court to grant.  What this means is: what have you done since the conviction that assures the court that you are rehabilitated, and an upstanding, law-abiding citizen?  An experienced local lawyer will be able to gather information about you and your personal background to best prepare for the hearing.

Things to Avoid: Be wary of the “$250.00 expungement expert” law firm ads.  They are often misleading and do not cost what they say they cost.  Additionally, these “law firms” are usually not located in the county in which you were convicted and are unfamiliar with local rules and customs of that court.  More often than not they collect the money from you and subcontract with a local attorney who has little or no contact with you, the client.  Remember the sayings “you get what you pay for” and “if it seems too good to be true, it probably is.”

Each DUI expungement petition should be drafted by the lawyer to reflect the particular individual’s circumstances in order to prove to the court that the person is a productive member of society and deserves the conviction to be dismissed.

The Law Offices of Matthew S. Luzaich represents people seeking DUI expungements, and can help you get your conviction expunged.  Whether you are seeking an expungement for employment purposes, or other personal reasons, we can represent you in a DUI expungement petition and get you results.  We offer a free consultation to discuss the process, eligibility, and the information you will need to get a DUI expungement granted the first time around.

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