If you’ve been convicted of a DUI charge in California, an experienced California DWI defense attorney may be able to help you clear your criminal record through the legal procedure known as expungement. Expungement is sometimes called “sealing” your criminal record. Your attorney can begin the expungement procedure by making a formal request to the court that convicted you to dismiss or set aside your DWI conviction. Along with misdemeanor DUI offenders, expungement is also available to people convicted of most other misdemeanors in California. Serious felonies require other expungement procedures and some crimes cannot be expunged.
Why should you seek expungement? Expungement of a DWI conviction is imperative for anyone applying for or renewing a professional license in California. A DWI conviction also negatively impacts those who drive or carry a firearm as part of their job. A criminal record can seriously limit educational and career opportunities, and an expungement provides a fresh start. If your expungement is approved, you will be able truthfully to state on private job applications and other important papers that you have never been convicted. For most misdemeanors, expungement takes six to ten weeks from the date your application is received by the Court. A good DUI defense lawyer can help you expedite your expungement and compile the information the Court needs.
Expungement does not erase your DUI conviction for the purpose of “priorability.” For example, if your 5-year-old DWI is expunged yesterday and you are charged again with DUI tomorrow, your original, expunged conviction still counts as a “prior” offense. If your DUI conviction was a felony, your attorney must file a motion to have the conviction reduced to a misdemeanor; the reduction to a misdemeanor must be approved before the expungement process can begin.
If you are a professional who has been convicted of DWI in California, speak to an experienced California DWI defense attorney about expungement. If you’re charged with DUI – now or in the future – a good DUI defense lawyer may help you avoid a conviction and the need for expungement. If you need DUI-related legal help, contact an experienced DWI defense attorney promptly.