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Expungement of a California DUI Misdemeanor under 1203.4 Expungement of DUI Record in California - Clear DUI Record

Fortunately for individuals convicted of driving under the influence (DUI/DWI) , California law has provisions that allow for expungement (the sealing of criminal records so it is not publicly available) of the conviction.  Expungement of California DUI convictions is available for both misdemeanor and felony convictions.  However, it is important to note that the type of relief that is available does vary from one case to the next and it depends on the type of charges and the consequences that followed.

Under California’s Penal Code Section 1203.4 , misdemeanor DUI convictions can be expunged.  Penal Code Section 1203.4 states in part:

"[DUI offender 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 as provided..."

This section of the California Penal Code provides for the clearing relief for convicted California DUI offenders who have been granted probation after having been convicted by a court of a misdemeanor.   California DUI Defense Attorneys may apply for such relief so long as (1) the DUI offender has fulfilled all the conditions of probation or has been discharged before the termination of probation, or (2) if the court in its discretion determines that the probationer should be granted this type of relief.

When is a California DUI Offender Not Eligible for an Expungement? 

California DUI offenders are not eligible for expungement if any of the following exist:  

  1. The California Drunk Driver is still serving a sentence for a criminal offense or is still on formal or
  2. informal probation for any offense, or is charged with the commission of any offense 
  3. Probation for the current application was revoked and not reinstated
  4. The California DUI offender was arrested and convicted of a new crime within 1 year of the former  judgment
  5. There is an outstanding warrant for the arrest of the CA DUI offender
  6. The DUI offender failed to appear or pay fees/fines to the Department of Motor Vehicles
  7. The record of the conviction continues to exist and continues to have certain effects
  8. The conviction is for an infraction (a criminal offense for which a jail sentence may not be imposed) or for a violation of California’s VC Sections 2800, 2801, or 2803

It is important to note that an expungement of this type does not entirely eliminate all possible adverse consequences that resulted from the charges in the California DUI case.  Although the conviction is “sealed” so to speak, information relating to the case may be made available as authorized by law.  For instance, upon completing an application or questionnaire for a public office or for licensure by any state or local agency the  CA Drunk Driving offender is directly asked if he or she was convicted of a crime, then the DUI offender must answer honestly.  In addition, this type of expungement does not keep the conviction from being used against the DUI offender should he or she be convicted in the future of another crime.  Furthermore, in accordance with California’s Vehicle Code Section 13555, the expungement will not serve to avoid any suspension imposed by the DMV. 

For purposes of expunging a client’s DUI conviction, California Drunk Driving Defense Lawyers should first seek to reduce the offense to a misdemeanor pursuant to California’s Penal Code Section 17 (b) first, before moving to expunge a client’s records under Penal code 1203.4.

Please see below for more Information on California DUI Expungements:

CA Post-Conviction DUI Relief, CA Post-Conviction Relief for Wobblers, and CA Felony DUI Expungement.

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