Is It Possible to “Expunge” a DUI Conviction from my Criminal Record in CA?
You made a mistake—a big one, it turns out—you got a DUI conviction for driving drunk or drugged. Regardless of whether your DUI conviction was a misdemeanor or a felony, you now have a criminal record.
A misdemeanor DUI in California will fall off your DMV driving record after 10 years, but it will stay on your criminal record forever. Every time you apply for a new job, or for a credit card or a loan or a mortgage, and they ask if you’ve ever been arrested or convicted of a criminal offense, you will have to answer “yes.”
That’s a pretty dark cloud to have hanging over your head for the rest of your life. But there’s a silver lining—and it’s called “expungement.”
Yes, You CAN “Expunge” a DUI Conviction in California
We all make mistakes. We all need mercy, the chance to start over, a second chance. That’s why California lawmakers enacted California Penal Code 1203.4—all the way back in 1872—which allows people convicted of most misdemeanors and felonies to have their case reopened, the finding of guilt withdrawn, and the case dismissed (expunged) under certain conditions.
Here’s the best news of all: Once your DUI conviction is expunged (think of a “sponge” wiping the slate clean), the conviction comes off your criminal record, and you can truthfully say that you were never convicted.
“Have you ever been arrested or convicted of a criminal offense?”
No, sir. Absolutely not. Never.
And the state will back you up.
It’s as if the DUI never happened—and it didn’t happen, in the eyes of the law. Once a California DUI conviction has been expunged, it will be removed from the state’s criminal records and from the commercial background checks commonly used by employers and landlords. A prospective employer won’t see it, and can’t use it against you. In fact, California’s “ban the box” law prohibits private employers from even asking about arrests or convictions on a job application. (However, you must disclose a DUI when applying for a CA state license or teaching credential.)
So you can finally move on with your life and let your past DUI conviction stay where it belongs—in the past.
What’s your experience with DUI Expungement? Please share in the comments below.