I received a wet and reckless charge, how can I get the charge expunged and taken off my record in California? I was barely over the limit and got arrested, I served one day in jail, have to take a 12 hour DUI class, pay over $1000 in fines and pay more insurance. How can I get the wet and reckless charge expunged and off my driving record?
Yuor conviction for a wet reckless will never fully be taken off your record and for ten years it is considered a prior if you happen to get arrested/charged with a new DUI offense. You may have the conviction expunged pursuant to Penal Code 1203.4; however, this does not remove the convcition for all purposes.
To be eligible for relief pursuant to Penal Code 1203.4 (expungement) you must successfully complete probation. Assuming you have done so and paid all fines then you are eligible. The law concerning DUI's changed last year. Even if a defendant successfully completes DUI probation and is able to so demonstrate to the Court, the judge has discretion whether or not to grant the motion. Prior to last year a judge in this situation would not have had discretion, the motion would have to have been granted.
After you successfully expunged your criminal conviction, if a private employer asks if you have ever been convicted of a crime, you can respond with “No.” Most federal and California government applications however, ask you, under penalty of perjury, if you have ever had a case expunged or cleared from your record, and you have a duty to answer this truthfully. Also, if you are applying for public office or a state license (i.e. real estate, doctor, lawyer, stockbroker, etc.) you must disclose the conviction. Even so, the fact that a court found good cause to expunge your conviction weighs in your favor.
Unfortunately an expunged wet reckless would also count as prior for ten years as discussed earlier. The main advantage of an expungement is regarding employment.
In general, each state has statutes that deal with expungement. They all require a waiting period, sometimes as long as 5 or 10 years if the record can be expunged. Most states also require a form of high risk insurance for a period of years after the incident-Washington requires three years. No expungement for the wet and reckless charge could occur until that period was over with. In addition, some states have gone to an enhancement penalty for multiple DUI convictions and I would guess that if California is one of them you would be subject to some restrictions on your prior history as a result. In Washington, again, 4 prior DUI convictions in a 10 year period results in an additional DUI being a Felony instead of a gross misdemeanor.
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