Through the judicial process of expungement, a person can seal his or her record of DUI conviction or arrest, thus preventing the public from seeing it. Since there is no constitutional right to expungement, the law treats it as a privilege, upon a showing of sufficient evidence that the convict has been rehabilitated and become an upstanding member of society one year after the conviction. However, the expungement remedy is not available for DUIs involving hit and runs, bodily injury, child endangerment, manslaughter, or other violent felonies for which time in state prison was served. Only the Governor's pardon can expunge felonies.
Benefits of Expungement
In California, expungement of a DUI conviction is possible one year after sentence completion, including probationary period, the payment of all fines, and the lack of any pending criminal charges. When a conviction has been expunged, the person can then legally deny its existence on job, credit, home purchase, and other vital applications. Another advantage of DUI expungement is that the person does not have to acknowledge an expunged conviction under oath.
However, DUI expungement is not absolutely bulletproof: the record has only been sealed to all but law enforcement officials. There are exceptions for jobs requiring the operation of motor vehicles in highly responsible situations, such as school bus driver or driver for government officials. Also, prosecutors have access to expunged files, so that if the person is charged with a future crime, her expunged conviction may be introduced as evidence if otherwise admissible. For example, just because a first DUI was expunged, it will still count toward a conviction for a second DUI, and the corresponding penalties, if the first DUI occurred in the last 10 years. Lastly, candidates running in a public election or applying for jobs in certain public programs must answer direct questions about the expungement.
Moving for expungement at the court can be complicated, and is best left to an experienced DUI attorney.
RLG attorneys are experienced in all aspects of DUI law. If you have been arrested for DUI, a criminal defense attorney at RLG will fight to protect your rights. We serve the entire Bay Area.
For outstanding legal representation, please contact RLG for a free consultation: (415) 877-4486
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