California Law and DUI ExpungementsDepending upon which state you live in, once you are convicted of a DUI, you could be out of luck when it comes to clearing your driving record of your DUI charge. Many states do not allow a DUI conviction to be expunged. However, California does offer you a chance to clear your record through a process known as post-conviction relief.
California Law and DUI Expungements
The California legislature has passed new laws that adjust the way DUI expungements are handled in the court system. In the past, you could get a DUI conviction expunged by completing sentence requirements and then petitioning the court. Now, you must undergo a formal hearing to resolve whether or not your DUI conviction can be expunged. It is up to the judge to decide if you will be able to have your record cleared of the DUI conviction.
Am I Eligible for Post-Conviction Relief?
California criminal offenses are classified as a felony, misdemeanor or a 'wobbler', which are offenses that can be brought to court as either a misdemeanor or a felony. Your eligibility to receive post-conviction relief rests on your DUI charge and the sentence you received. You are not likely to achieve post-conviction relief if you are still on probation. However, a California DUI attorney could file a formal request to the same court you were convicted in to terminate your probation early to make you eligible. In making its decision, the court will look at your conduct since your DUI conviction. Have you held consistent employment? Have you completed all DUI sentence requirements? Did you pay all DUI fines and/or restitution? Would justice be served by an early termination of your DUI probation?
Reduction of DWI Charges
The only felonies that are eligible for diminution are wobblers. Once your probation is over, your DUI attorney can file a petition with the court to reduce your felony to a misdemeanor. If the court grants the petition, your DUI felony conviction becomes a misdemeanor unless you are charged with a similar crime in the future. If you are found guilty, it will be as if the first felony was never reduced and your punishment will be greater. Also, your rights to own firearms are restricted.
Expungement of your DUI is another alternative that is available in California. You can expunge both misdemeanors and felonies, but only certain convictions are eligible. Was the initial crime committed by an adult or a juvenile? Was the conviction for a felony or a misdemeanor? Was probation offered? Was a stretch in state prison part of the sentence? There are several benefits to having a DUI conviction expunged from your record. It can open doors to new employment, remove barriers to acquiring professional licenses and housing, not to mention give you peace of mind. If you are seeking post-conviction relief for a DUI in California, you should consult with a attorney who has familiarity with the process. He can review your case and determine whether a DUI expungement or reduction of charges is possible and should be pursued.