A DUI may be removed — but could still count as a prior offense.
Most Californians understand that it’s against the law to drive under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs (DUI). However, unless they — or someone they love — has been charged with a DUI, they might not realize just how seriously the police, prosecutors and judges take this crime. If you plead guilty to or are convicted of a California DUI, you may spend time in jail, be sentenced to probation, be required to take (and pay for) alcohol education classes, have steep fines and fees imposed, and lose your license for a lengthy period of time. You’ll also have a criminal record.
Even after you have completed the terms of your sentence, a DUI conviction can follow you around for a long time. It will stay on your record for a period of 10 years in California — which can affect your ability to get a job and obtain a professional certification or license. Fortunately, if you meet the eligibility requirements, a DUI defense lawyer in Rancho Cucamonga, CA can help you get that conviction removed from your record before those 10 years have passed.
The process of expungement can be used to clear your criminal record. The record of a DUI conviction will still be accessible for limited purposes by government agencies such as the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), but it cannot otherwise be accessed or used against you.
To qualify for an expungement, you must have completed your DUI probation and not currently be charged with any crime. If you went to state prison for your DUI, then the offense cannot be expunged. Generally, you would only go to California state prison for a felony DUI, or for a fourth or greater DUI. For example, if you killed or seriously injured someone while driving under the influence, you would be charged with a felony DUI and sentenced to anywhere from 1 to 5 years in state prison. In this situation, you would not be able to have your DUI conviction expunged.
Expungement is a legal process. Your DUI defense lawyer in Rancho Cucamonga, CA will petition the court to apply for an expungement. The prosecutor must also be notified of your application for expungement at least 15 days prior to any hearing to give them the opportunity to review the case and object if desired. From there, the court will either allow you to withdraw your guilty or no contest plea, and enter in a plea of not guilty, or set aside a guilty verdict (if the case went to trial). The court will then dismiss the accusations against you.
There are many benefits to having your DUI expunged. However, it is important to understand that even after expungement, a DUI conviction will still count as a prior offense if you get another DUI within 10 years of the first one.
If you have been charged with of convicted a California DUI, the Chambers Law Firm is here to help. We’ll aggressively defend you against DUI charges — or work to have an existing conviction removed from your record. To learn more or to schedule a free initial consultation with a DUI defense lawyer in Rancho Cucamonga, CA, contact our law firm today at 855-397-0210 or email@example.com.