What Does it Mean to Expunge a DUI?

When a person is convicted of driving under the influence (DUI), the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) will maintain a record of that conviction, but the conviction will also result in the person having a criminal record. In California, the DMV will keep the DUI on your driving records for 10 years. The criminal record from a DUI will remain for life unless you do something to stop that from happening. Expunging a DUI from your criminal record will mean that typical background searches will not turn up your criminal conviction. The record (register of actions) of the case will still however exists with the court, but for example in California, the status will show as “Dismissed”, rather than “Guilty”. Most background check agencies will not report this back to employers as a conviction.

It is also important to note that the term expungement refers to a criminal court case, and not the DMV, so an expungement at the court does not have anything to do directly with your driving record.

Why is it important to have your DUI expunged?

Your criminal record is searchable by employers. This means, the DUI on your record can show up when you apply for a new job when the company performs a background check. How the employer will view you after they see the DUI on your record varies depending on the views of the person who is considering hiring you, and on whether driving or operating a vehicle would be a part of the job that you are applying for. Additional issues can occur if the employer perceives you as being dishonest about your DUI. For instance, many individuals who get a DUI might think of the conviction as a driving offense rather than a crime. In turn, it is possible he or she will check the “no” box on an application for a job when it asks whether they have been convicted of a crime. If the background check comes back with a conviction listed, the potential employer may believe you are trying to hide something, intentionally lying or being misleading, none of which are characterizes employers are typically looking for.

Of course, since your criminal record stays with you for life, a DUI you got when you were 22 could pop up on a search when you are 45 and looking for a job. In this case, you can only hope the employer is understanding.

Because of the potential problems faced by having a DUI on your record, it is a good idea to have the DUI expunged if this is an option for you.

Who can expunge a DUI?

If you wish to have your DUI expunged from your record, you must have complied with the requirements of your sentencing. For instance, if you were ordered to complete a probationary period, it must have been completed, you must have paid any fines or restitution that you were ordered to pay, and you must not be facing other criminal charges or currently serving a sentence for another crime. Individuals who get DUI’s and who have not been convicted of other crimes will have the opportunity to have their record expunged.

Do I need an attorney?

Having a DUI expunged from your record can greatly improve your future job prospects and can save you a lot of trouble throughout your life. The process of having your record expunged can be complicated, and sometimes the District Attorney might object to your request. Because of this, hiring an attorney who understands the system and what is required can make the process run smooth and give you the best chance of having your expungement completed.

If you were convicted of a DUI and would like to have that record expunged, contact Milligan, Beswick, Levine & Knox LLP today at 909-798-3300 for a free consultation.