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If you have already been convicted of a Crime, including a DUI, an expungement is potential way to minimize damage after the fact. The law in regards to expunging DUI and Criminal records is relatively straight forward. If certain conditions are met, one becomes eligible. Once the record is expunged, there are benefits and there are certain ramifications of the original criminal charge that remain. The relevant statute that deals with all of these issues is Penal Code 1203.4. All expungement motions will be brought under this code section.
An individual is eligible to have their criminal conviction expunged if:
Here is where the law gets a little tricky. The statute appears to make it mandatory for those conditions listed above. But, in the same statute, in a different subsection, specifically Penal Code 1203.4(c)(1), the legislature specifically says that the above conditions do not equate to a mandatory expungement when dealing with DUI offenses. The legislature decided to leave DUI cases to the courts discretion.
Currently, Sacramento County treats DUI Expungement cases like any other misdemeanor. If the conditions above have been fulfilled, the Court, at least in my experience, always grants the DUI expungement. However, Yolo County Courts are taking advantage of the caveat in the law and requiring a declaration to accompany any DUI expungement petition to the court. The District Attorney’s office normally opposes DUI expungement requests in Yolo, and a strong advocate is needed more than ever in that particular county. A thorough knowledge of the different requirements for the different counties is crucial in this area of law.
If the above conditions apply to you, with the exception of the probation violation condition, it does not mean that you cannot get your conviction expunged. It simply means that it is not automatic, the court has discretion. You have the right to submit any additional evidence you like to attempt to persuade the court on why it is necessary for an expungement, and why the court should exercise its discretion and grant your petition. Obviously, having A Sacramento Expungement Attorney experienced in these types of cases could only help.
It makes a difference with employers. You can legally state that you were never convicted once the case is expunged. However, if you are applying for any state license or public office, you would still need to disclose the conviction. An expungement is in reality a dismissal. Expungement is the common term used by the general public and legal community alike, but all that is really occurring is the case for which you were convicted is being dismissed. Whether you pled no contest or guilty, the plea is withdrawn, a not guilty plea is entered and the court dismisses the charge. If you were found guilty after a trial, whether the trial was in front of jury or a judge, the guilty verdict is set aside, and a dismissal is entered into the record. So, the record is not cleared. The arrest is still there. The charge is still there. But, it will show that the charge was dismissed on your record. Legally, employers, whether they are public or private, are not allowed to inquire into arrests that did not result in a conviction. See California Labor Code 432.7
It is possible to have the arrest record sealed, under a procedure found in Penal Code 851.8. This is what is referred to as a Petition for a Finding of Factual Innocence. There are quite a few rules on how to proceed on these types of cases. For further information feel free to contact me at (916) 233-7346, but for now, the overall gist of these motions is that law enforcement had no probable cause to arrest you in the first place. Chances are, if you were convicted of the charge you were arrested for, there was probable cause for the arrest. It is a very difficult motion to win, and generally only applies when there was no conviction in the first place.
Expungement Attorney Michael Rehm provides representation on all DUI and Criminal Expungement matters in Sacramento, Yolo, Placer, Colusa and El Dorado County. Call (916) 233-7346 for a free consultation.