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Can I get my DUI court fines reduced or substittued for community service so I can expunge my record in order to get a job?

San Jose, CA |

About 6 years ago when I was 20 years old, I was charged with 3 DUI'S in two different counties in less than 4 months. I was able to plead as a 1st time offender for the first two (which happened within 2weeks of each other) and as a 2nd time offender for the 3rd. My summary probation period has ended already and I'm halfway done with my 18month DUI multiple offender course. I've been struggling financially since I lost my job back in 2010 and have not been able to get hired anywhere because of this criminal history. I need to get my record expunged so I can find a job but I cant get my record expunged until I pay off my fines which I can't afford because I am not working. Any advice? Suggestions?

Attorney Answers 6

  1. I am assuming you were represented by an attorney on your underlying charge(s). Start by speaking to the attorney or attorneys who represented you, as they will be able to review the facts of your file(s).

  2. Go to court and ask to have your fines converted to community service. You may not be able to convert one hundred percent of the fines to community service (for example, you cannot convert the booking fees to community service) and there is a fine for community service based on the number of hours you need to perform, but this is a very common request and courts should help you with this. Good luck.

  3. Unfortunately you cannot petition for expungement until you complete you 18 month alcohol school and pay off your fines. You might be able to get your matter on calendar and request the judge to convert balance of fines into jail time. Good luck!


  4. You will have to complete all terms of probation before you can get your record expunged. You may be able to do community service for some of the fines. You need to go to court to ask for a probation modification

  5. Here's the deal. If you had to plead to a second DUI, that's because you already suffered a conviction for one of the DUI's by the time you were arrested and charged with the third one. That means that you got a new offense while on probation, which does not bode well for your expungement request even if you were to pay off all your fines. Secondly, DUI expungements are not "of right" expungements. That means you're not entitled to one even if you do everything you're supposed to do. I'm not saying you shouldn't apply for an expungement at some point, but realistically there is no way in hell a judge is going to grant your request before you're even off probation, especially in light of the multiple offenses. There might be SOME way you could get one in the future, but don't count on it as a sure thing. If it was me, I'd follow the advice of others here and try to get your fines converted to volunteer work or jail time. If you're not working, I'd opt for the jail time. A lot of counties give $100/day credit, and since right now the law requires day for day credit for any custodial sentence, it usually comes out to $200 for everyday you're inside. Ten days and you're pretty much done with your total fine for a DUI. If you know another way to make $2000 in ten days, I imagine you'd be doing it. Nobody likes jail, but it's a practical solution to part of your problem.

    No attorney-client relationship is created by communications on AVVO. Any information provided by the attorney is for general informational purposes only. Always consult with a qualified attorney who is licensed to practice in your area.

  6. I'm not sure if I'm reading this correctly but you're only half-way done with your multiple offender program? Did you fail to sign up the first time and have the court refer you back to the program? If that's the case then you might still be on probation given you didn't start your classes when you were supposed to. This could mean that you were not in compliance with all the terms of your probation therefore it was reinstated. Check on that first. As far as the fines are concerned I agree that you should have the fines converted to jail time and serve them in custody. If you have the fines converted to community service it might take a very long time to complete and still cost you money to sign up and participate. I would check on your probation status first then hire an attorney to try to clean up the record.

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