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Employment back ground check and arrest record

San Diego, CA |

11 yrs ago I had a DUI. I am applying for a job with a state water district and they want to know in their application if I have ever had a DUI. Do I have to disclose this. It's been 11 yrs and my record has been clean since. I don't want to admit more than necessary but at the same time I don't want them to think I've lied to them. Can they go back that far?

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Attorney answers 3


They're going to find it. Your DUI is a public record. Even if they hired you, they could later fire you for lying on the application.

You can move to have the case dismissed under Penal Code 1203.4, which some people call an expungement. It doesn't really expunge anything, but the judge will allow you to withdraw your plea or set aside the verdict if you were convicted after a trial, and dismiss the case. The court records will be updated to show the dismissal was granted.

Some lawyers charge thousands of dollars for filing this simple motion, but you can do it yourself if you completed probation without any snags. The court clerk in the county where you were convicted should have a packet available with instructions and all of the necessary forms. If you had a probation violation or have any new convictions along the way, you may want to hire a lawyer to help.

Assuming you get the dismissal, California Labor Code 432.7 says employers can't ask about any arrest that didn't result in a conviction, and many attorneys interpret this to mean you don't have to disclose the conviction after a 1203.4 dismissal. I usually advise clients to disclose it, but note it has been dismissed, if they think a potential employer may do a detailed background check.

Even if you get a 1203.4 dismissal, you will still have to disclose the conviction in response to a direct question on an application to run for public office, for a professional license, or if you want to contract with the state lottery. It would also still count as a prior conviction to increase the punishment for any future offense, but the courts can only go back ten years to count a prior DUI so you should be safe there.

Please understandthat this is a general discussion based on California law 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 Avvo, 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.


Check the application closely, most actually say within 10 years. Others say crimes of moral turpitude or dishonesty (this is not one of those).

I agree that you should disclose, if it was the (b) charge (aka the .08 charge), I'd list it as .08 or great alcohol in system while driving and do NOT describe as "drunk" driving.

This is general information and not advice.

Good luck with your situation.

Matthew Williamson


DUI Expungement

What is a DUI Expungement?

A DUI expungement is a legal process that petitions the Court to review a DUI-related conviction to determine:

* If the term of probation was successfully completed & concluded;
* That all fines, restitution and reimbursement ordered by the court have been paid and everything ordered by the court was completed in a timely manner;
* That the petitioner is not now on probation for another offense;
* That the petitioner has no new pending cases;

The Court then may allow the petitioner to withdraw his or plea or finding of guilt or no contest, and thereafter orders the case dismissed.

How does this help me?

Expungement law (Penal Code Section 1203.4) provides in part:

"[Petitioner shall] permitted by the court to withdraw his or her plea of guilty or plea of nolo contendere and enter a plea of not guilty; or, if he or she has been convicted after a plea of not guilty, the court shall set aside the verdict of guilty; and, in either case, the court shall thereupon dismiss the accusations or information against the defendant and except as noted below, he or she shall thereafter be released from all penalties and disabilities resulting from the offense of which he or she has been convicted, except as provided..."

What about applying for jobs?

* If Private Employers ask if you have every been convicted of a crime, you generally can respond with "NO".
* (Each question is different so please first contact an attorney before answering any specific question, in every case and for every form.)
* On questions by Government Employers or Government Licensing Applications if you are asked if you have ever been convicted of a crime, you must disclose the expunged case.

What doesn't a DUI Expungement do?

Your dismissed DUI conviction can still be used to increase your punishment in future DUI cases. The offense is "priorable".

* It can still be used to enhance penalties & increase punishment should you get another DUI.
* It can be used to try to put you in jail or increase the length of a DMV suspension.

Does this erase all records and destroy the Court file?

No. An expungement
# the disposition of the case to reflect a dismissal under 1203.4 of the Penal Code. This means the Court file, the California Department of Justice, and the FBI update their files to show the case has been ordered dismissed by the Court.

Will I need to go to Court?

No. I handle all Court work for you.

How Long Does A DUI Expungement Take?

Misdemeanors: Most expungements for misdemeanors take between 4 to 6 weeks to complete from the time the application is filed. This does not include the time needed to research all records and process the application. The more prepared you are as to the information needed (Case number, date of birth, conviction date, probation length, Vehicle Code charge number, and San Diego county court location) the quicker the application can be processed. If it is necessary to search the court records for information, it may take additional time.

Why Expunge my record? Why spend the money?

There are a number of reasons to do so such as employment or licensing. However, at least half our clients want to expunge their record as final "closure" on an old mistake- just for peace of mind.

DISCLAIMER: Please be aware this page is NOT a comprehensive analysis of all expungement law, types of answers to types of questions asked, or of all types of remedies that may be available to you. This is NOT intended to be legal advice, and a consultation with an Attorney is always first recommended and before answering any question.