I was arrested for DUI in Santa Clara county California in 11/2006 and convicted in 07/2007. I was planning to apply for a record clearance when my probation period ended. While looking at my documents I noticed that there was a box checked for "Imposition of sentence suspended for probation period." Does this mean that I do not have to request the record clearance? Will my conviction be removed automatically in 07/2010 when my probation period is over?
Criminal Defense Attorney
There notation means the judge isn't going to sentence you to jail unless you violate probation.
There is no such thing as a "record clearance," and your conviction won't be "removed" when you are off probation.
A DUI will stay on your DMV record for ten years. There is no way to remove it.
Under Penal Code §1203.4, a person who is granted probation can apply to have the case dismissed after probation is complete. This is sometimes called an expungement, but it doesn't really expunge anything or seal your record.
The conviction is still a part of the court's public records, which will also show the case was dismissed. You still must disclose the conviction when applying to be a police officer or for certain other jobs, or if asked on an application for a state license or to run for public office.
Your DUI conviction could be used to increase the punishment in a subsequent DUI case within ten years.
BEWARE of law firms that promise to "clear your record" and charge thousands of dollars. The process of filing a Penal Code §1203.4 petition is pretty simple, and you can do it yourself with forms available from the court clerk's office, especially if you completed probation without any problems. If you had a probation violation along the way, you may want an attorney's help, but the guys who charge thousands to file simple paperwork will probably overcharge you for that, too.
California Labor Code §432.7 says employers can't ask about any arrest that didn't result in a conviction, inquire about it from other sources or use it in a hiring decision.
Some attorneys interpret this Labor Code section to mean you don't have to disclose a conviction that was dismissed under Penal Code §1203.4, but I usually advise clients to disclose it, with an explanation that the conviction was subsequently dismissed.
Please understand that this is a general discussion of legal principles by a California lawyer and does not create an attorney/client relationship. It's impossible to give detailed, accurate advice based on a few sentences on a website (and you shouldn't provide too much specific information about your legal matter on a public forum like this site, anyway). You should always seek advice from an attorney licensed in your jurisdiction who can give you an informed opinion after reviewing all of the relevant information.
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