Criminal records can have long term effects. From employment opportunities, to being honest with a potential partner, having a conviction for a crime weighing on your shoulders, shouldn't stop you from achieving your life goals. An expungement is an action allowed by PC 1203.4 for a person convicted of a crime to clear that transgression from their record.
PC 1203.4 permits people convicted of misdemeanors and some felonies to have their convictions dismissed upon the successful completion of probation or other terms of sentencing. The court will reopen your criminal case, and set aside the conviction. If approved by the court, the conviction will be officially entered as a dismissal.
Expungement laws can vary from state to state. In California, consulting with an attorney experienced with submitting a package along with the expungement motion is a good idea. A prosecutor will review the package when considering whether to object to the motion or recommend to the court that the motion be granted. The granting of an expungement is not guaranteed.
Sometimes, depending on the individual facts of the case, and the person's previous criminal history, a prosecutor may object to an expungement motion. When this happens, it is important to have a lawyer by your side who understand how to present the case to the judge that an expungement is in the interest of justice. In the courtroom, prosecutors ostensibly represent the interest of "the people," meanwhile your lawyer represents your personal interests.
A DUI conviction carries with it two types of records: a criminal conviction and a DMV record. You cannot expunge a DMV record. Typically a DUI stays on your DMV record for 10 years. After 10 years, it "falls off" and is no longer considered in administrative matters regarding the status of your driver's license.
A criminal DUI conviction, however, will stay on your record forever if it isn't expunged. The purpose of the criminal conviction remaining is so that if you are arrested for another DUI within the statute of limitations, it will be considered "aggravated" because you have a prior. Prosecutors will take into consideration the time between DUIs, but a DUI arrest within the statute of limitations must be charged as a subsequent DUI - not a first time offense.
A felony DUI will be much harder to expunge, especially so if you were found to have caused serious injury, death or property damage. Similarly, the district attorney may argue that it is against public interest to expunge your felony DUI conviction because of the severity of the crime.
If you have additional questions about whether you may be eligible for a DUI expungement, call the Johnson Criminal Law Group today for a free consultation and to see if there may be an opportunity to expunge your criminal record.