How difficult is it to expunge a DUI in California? 13 Answers as of October 30, 2010

I received a misdemeanor DUI in September 2008. I had a .11 BAC and it was a first offense (not even as much as a speeding ticket before or since). I have paid all fines, completed the alcohol education courses, had my license fully reinstated, etc. The only thing left is one year of informal probation, which should expire in September 2011.

I have heard that it is possible to have probation removed early in order to get an expungement. Does this really happen? If so, how rare? Also, after my probation is complete, how difficult is it to actually get a DUI expunged? I know it happens, but would it be possible to get some sort of success rate?

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Law Office of Michael K. Moore
Law Office of Michael K. Moore | Michael K. Moore
Generally speaking, once you have completed your probation term, and provided you are not on probation for any other offense and do not have any pending cases. Expungement is extremely simple and must be granted. Since your probation term has not yet expired, you would need to petition the court for early termination of your probation. The decision to terminate early is entirely left to the court's discretion. If your record is entirely clean other than the DUI offense, and you are doing productive things with your life (school, work, etc.), then you have a decent chance of getting probation terminated early and having your conviction expunged.

Remember, though, that expungement only allows you to answer "no" when asked if you've ever been convicted of a crime on most job applications, etc. It does not remove it from the court's records, and your DUI conviction can still be considered a prior conviction for purposes of penalty enhancements if you get another DUI conviction within 10 years. Moreover, if you apply for state licenses (nursing, real estate, insurance, etc.), then your conviction will still show up in a background check. Expungement generally only "cleans" your record as far as private employers are concerned.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 10/30/2010
Law Office of Geoffrey M. Yaryan
Law Office of Geoffrey M. Yaryan | Geoffrey M. Yaryan
After you successfully complete probation you can have it expunged.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 10/28/2010
The Law Offices of Christopher J. McCann
The Law Offices of Christopher J. McCann | Christopher J. McCann
It is very easy to get a DUI expunged in California. In fact, for misdemeanors for which all terms and conditions of probation have been fulfilled, the judge has no discretion NOT to grant it.

Two caveats however: 1) you must complete probation first, either by the passage of time, or by getting a judge to agree to early termination (which is certainly possible), and 2) this will NOT stop the courts or DMV from using it as a priorable conviction for 10 years following the date of conviction.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 10/27/2010
Nelson & Lawless
Nelson & Lawless | Terry Nelson
It can be done. It would help in getting employment for the rest of your life.

The general rules and guidelines are: Many felony and misdemeanor convictions [not infractions] can sometimes be expunged by proper application and Petition to the court, but only if there was no prison time served or even sentenced, if it was not for certain sex and Domestic Violence crimes, if all terms of sentencing and probation [and at least one year of probation] are completed and finished, and if there are no new charges pending. If successful, the conviction would be retroactively withdrawn and the charges dismissed. That does not remove the conviction, but merely changes the record to show conviction reversed and dismissed by expungement. If expunged, you would be able to say no to conviction on most private employment applications. However, the conviction is still a prior for purposes of repeat offense, and must be disclosed on any application for government and professional licensing, bonding, security clearance, etc. The licensing agency and employer then can decide whether you are barred from licensing and employment because of your conviction. If you are serious about doing so, and you think you qualify, feel free to contact me for the legal help you will need.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 10/27/2010
Law Office of Thomas F. Mueller
Law Office of Thomas F. Mueller | Thomas Mueller
After successful completion of probation any DUI can be expunged. We are successful in 90 percent of the cases. We could quickly advise you if the success rate would be even higher in your case after a few question s. The key is whether a judge would terminate probation early. THAT is discretionary. Therefore the rate is not as high. However if you have a good reason, and I'm sure we could come up with one I predict success.

Call me for assistance.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 10/27/2010
    Wise Law Group
    Wise Law Group | Michael J. Wise, Esq
    That is very easy to achieve. We can terminate probation early and then expunge the conviction.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 10/26/2010
    Law Office of Peter F. Goldscheider
    Law Office of Peter F. Goldscheider | Peter Goldscheider
    The minimum period of probation for any DUI is three years. It is an open question if once imposed that probation can be terminated early. We have been successful in doing so but the law is not clear. Whether a DUI is expunged is in the discretion of the court meaning with regard to a DUI at least it is not automatic even if you completed probation successfully with no new crimes.

    There is no way to estimate the percentages but a good lawyer is more likely to be successful than a mediocre one. Once you are successfully dismissed from probation however you are then entitled to an expungement.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 10/26/2010
    Law Office of Jeff Yeh
    Law Office of Jeff Yeh | Jeff Yeh
    Since you have already completed 2 out of 3 years of probation, early termination is possible, especially if you have a valid reason, such as work, school, immigration...etc. You should contact a good DUI/Criminal Defense attorney to possibly seek an early termination of probation, followed by an expungement petition.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 10/26/2010
    The Law Office of Denis White
    The Law Office of Denis White | Denis Hurley White Jr.
    Depends on the county. The DA and courts do not like to let people off DUI probation early because they lose the ability to violate probation if you are bad. One of the conditions of probation is that you are not allowed to drive with any measurable amount of alcohol in your system. The law as of January 1, 2009 even gives the court the ability to charge you with a new infraction under VC23154 (100 fine) and gives DMV the ability to suspend your CDL for 1 year. That said, it is not impossible to shorten and terminate probation early but you had better be able to convince the court that it is appropriate in your case.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 10/26/2010
    Law Offices of Phil Hache
    Law Offices of Phil Hache | Phil Hache
    Yes, it is possible to get released from probation early, then get the DUI expunged. Call me with any questions for a free consultation.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 10/26/2010
    The Law Offices of Robert L. Driessen
    The Law Offices of Robert L. Driessen | Robert L. Driessen
    Most courts will not terminate your probation early unless you have a good reason. If your only reason is so that you can request your case be expunged I would not anticipate a court will grant your request. If however you need to be off probation to join the military or for a job you have a chance.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 10/26/2010
    Law Offices of Staycie R. Sena
    Law Offices of Staycie R. Sena | Staycie R. Sena
    I have gotten many grants of probation terminated early and cases expunged. Please call me to discuss your particular case.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 10/26/2010
    Law Office of Lindsey McGregor
    Law Office of Lindsey McGregor | Lindsey McGregor
    You cannot attempt an expungement until you are off probation. The first thing you (or an attorney) need to do is a motion to terminate your probation. If you've done a substantial portion of your probation, the judge will likely grant this.

    Next, you'll want to petition for expungement. DUI expungements can be granted but they are within the discretion of the judge since they also serve as a moving violation for DMV records.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 10/26/2010
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