Can I Ever Get A DUI Conviction Removed From My Record In California?
In this article, you will discover:
- How a DUI charge can be removed from one’s record
- The chances of winning a DUI case in California
If someone is convicted of a DUI or any crime, they can get it dismissed, and one of the standard terms people will use is an expungement, but it’s actually a dismissal. It falls under Penal Code Section 1203.4, and that essentially says that you can come back when you’ve successfully completed probation and petition the court to have your case dismissed after the fact. So, the key to this request is to complete your probation successfully. For DUI charges in California, it’s generally three years of informal probation on a first offense. Then, it is five years of informal probation on a second or third offense. For that time period, the court wants to see that you can do everything you’ve been asked to do, that you will not pick up any new cases or have any probation violations. If you can do that, you prove to the court during that either three or five-year period that you can do everything you’ve been told to do and stay out of trouble, then you can come back and petition once your probation is finished.
For example, one year after first time DUI, you’re still on probation, you’re not eligible to have that dismissal granted under 1203.4, but you can come back after you’ve completed your three probation and ask. The second thing that you face is in DUI charges specifically, a person must show the court that giving them this dismissal is in the interests of justice, which means you must show that you deserve it. So unlike other charges where you can automatically get a dismissal, DUIs require that you give some reason to a judge who’s considering your motion.
So as an attorney, we help someone with that declaration that gets attached to their motion. Is it affecting their career, their ability to go to grad school, or is there something going on in their lives they learned from this? We try to distill that into a statement that can be presented to a judge that will help that person prove that the granting of this motion is in the interest of justice. Once that motion is granted, it doesn’t delete somebody’s DUI from their record, but it changes it to a dismissal, giving them some benefits when they are applying for jobs.
The Possibility Of Winning A DUI Case
It is absolutely possible to win a DUI case. It is complex; there is no general fast and hardline rule about when or how; it really is a case-by-case basis. Often when we initially meet with someone, they’ll give us some information about the case, but it’s still too early in that case to know because we haven’t seen all of the other evidence. There’s usually an audio or video recording of this person’s actual encounter with the police. There are also breath and blood machine records. There’s other evidence out there, and we have to comb through all of that. Sometimes, you may meet with the client, and there is nothing unusual about the case. But then we obtain audio or video, or we get reports, or breath machine records, and we find an issue we could have seen initially, and that issue ends up being a big enough problem that the case can either get reduced or dismissed.
That’s why it’s so essential to sift through all the evidence because that’s where you find the issues that allow us to fight the charges effectively, but they need to be significant issues. It can’t be just a minor discrepancy. Unfortunately, the way that our system works is the only way to know what your defenses are is to go through your evidence, and people are often asked to make decisions about their case when they haven’t seen their evidence. The court will expect someone to plead guilty the first time they are there. That person may never have even seen police reports, so they can’t assess whether or not their case has any defenses or not. If you’re interested in doing that, which is why it is crucial to retain an attorney.
Also, even if a case can’t be dismissed or reduced there are other goals we can accomplish through negotiation, so I also think it’s important to discuss each client’s particular goal that we can work towards.