The Law Dictionary

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Expunging DUI in California

The reasons for having a California DUI expunged are to:

  • withdraw a DUI plea
  • obtain an Order setting aside the DUI conviction
  • enter a plea of Not Guilty
  • obtain an Order of dismissal of the accusatory DUI pleading

This can occur with a successful request to the Court for review of a DUI in California or conviction related to driving drunk.  The Court will initially review and determine:

  • If the California Superior Court terms of probation were completed and concluded successfully;
  • That all court ordered fees, reimbursement, fines, and restitution have been paid
  • Everything ordered by the court was completed in a timely manner;
  • That the requester is no longer on probation for any other offense;
  • That the requester has no other California cases pending;

The Court then may allow the requester to withdraw his or her plea or guilty finding or no contest, and subsequently orders the case dismissed.  A legal withdrawal of a plea, any not guilty entry, and a court dismissal of a California DUI being granted, the requester is released from every penalty and punishment due from the DUI conviction.  The Expungement law (Penal Code Section 1203.4) provides in part:

“[Requester shall]…be permitted by the court to withdraw his or her plea of guilty or plea of nolo contendere and enter a plea of not guilty; or, if he or she has been convicted after a plea of not guilty, the court shall set aside the verdict of guilty; and, in either case, the court shall thereupon dismiss the accusations or information against the defendant and except as noted below, he or she shall thereafter be released from all penalties and disabilities resulting from the offense of which he or she has been convicted, except…”

However … The expungement does not allow the person to ignore the obligation to disclose the expunged  conviction in response to any direct question contained in any questionnaire or application for public offense, for licensure by an state or local agency, or for contracting with the California State Lottery.

Also … The expungement does not allow the person to own, hold, or have custody or control of any firearm capable of being concealed by the person, and it does not prevent conviction of the accused under California Penal Code section 12021.

If any employers ask about being convicted of a crime, the person can usually answer “no”.   Since every question can be different it is advised to contact an attorney before answering any specific question.

On questions by government agencies or government licensing applications the person must disclose the expunged case.

A dismissed DUI conviction can and will be used as the basis for repeat DUI and likely add to penalty and punishment in future DUI cases. The offense is “priorable”.  It can be used put the offender in jail or increase the length of a DMV suspension.

An expungement alters the disposition of the case to reflect this dismissal under 1203.4 of the Penal Code. This means that the Court file, the California DOJ, and the FBI must alter their files to show that this case has been ordered dismissed by the Court.