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Benefits Of Expungement After A Drunk Driving Conviction

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A standard sentence in misdemeanor DUI cases includes a term of probation. Depending on what charges you plead to or were convicted of depends on the standard term of probation. In San Diego, the courts often give a term of three years for a dry or wet reckless and five years for a misdemeanor driving under the influence offense.

Once probation is terminated, either due to expiration or a motion for early termination, you may want to apply for an expungement. There are many benefits to doing an expungement, but there are also things that an expungement does not provide for.

Penal Code Section 1203.4 provides, the probationer shall be permitted by the court to withdraw his or her guilty plea or the court shall set aside the guilty verdict. The court shall then dismiss the accusations and he or she shall thereafter be released from all penalties and disabilities resulting from the offense of which he or she was convicted. However, like anything else in the law, there are some exceptions.

The probationer still has an “obligation to disclose the conviction in response to any direct question contained in any questionnaire or application for public office, for licensure by any state or local agency, or for contracting with the California State Lottery Commission.”

If a private employer asks if you have been convicted of a crime, you can answer, “No.” But, if you are applying to a government job or with a government licensing agency, and you are asked if you have ever been convicted of a crime, you must disclose the expunged case. In addition to the disclosure, you should also note in the application that your matter was expunged.

The expunged matter cannot be used against you when applying for jobs or in promotion opportunities.

In any subsequent prosecution for any other offense, the expunged matter can be plead and proved with the same effects as though an expungement was not granted. This means the expunged matter is still “priorable.” For instance, if you had a DUI expunged, and then you are charged with another drunk driving case within ten years, that first expunged case can still be used as a prior DUI to enhance the penalties of this new case.

If you are not allowed to possess a firearm, an expungement does not restore that right. You must wait the requisite time under the law to reinstate your firearm rights.
If you are prohibited from holding public office due to the conviction, an expungement does not allow you to hold public office.

Even though an expungement does not result in your records being permanently destroyed, many people want to have this done as a way of having closure. Another motivation is for better employment opportunities and to better position themselves in a licensing application.

The above blog article is by no means all-inclusive and is not legal advice. Laws may change and may not apply to your case. For the latest information or to get legal advice, speak to a drunk driving lawyer in your area.


If you have a DUI case and you want to see if you are eligible for early termination of probation and/or an expungement, contact The Law Offices of Susan L. Hartman for your free phone consultation. We are an accessible, aggressive, exclusively DUI firm and we handle all aspects of drunk driving cases including post plea/conviction issues such as early termination of probation and expungement. Call 619-260-1122 today or use the “Contact Us” page on our website.