A few years back you made a mistake. You drove after a few drinks. You got pulled over by police and failed the Breathalyzer test. Ultimately, you pleaded guilty to a DUI. You paid a fine, went to the required classes and maybe served a couple of days in jail. Finally, you completed your probation.
Now you want to put it all behind you. However, a single DUI can haunt you for years. Potential employers can find your DUI when they do background checks. So can potential lenders or landlords.
Fortunately, here in California, you may be able to get a DUI expunged from your record once your probation period is over. It’s easier to get an expungement if it the DUI was a misdemeanor, but you may even be able to get a felony DUI expunged. That, however, is generally more complicated.
It’s important to understand what an expungement will and won’t accomplish. As noted, it erases the conviction from records that can be accessed if you apply for a job or loan or try to rent an apartment. However, it doesn’t erase it from your criminal record. If you were to get another DUI, for example, you’d still be considered a repeat offender.
Expungements require time and money. Therefore, before you decide to pursue one, it’s worthwhile to be honest with yourself about your chances of getting another DUI. If the first one was enough to make you stop drinking completely or to vow never again to get behind the wheel after even a sip of wine or one puff on a joint, it may be worth the effort — particularly if you may need to find another job or apply for a mortgage someday.
A California criminal defense attorney can help you determine whether you’re a good candidate for expungement and help you through the process.