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How can I remove a DUI conviction from my record? Does a DUI ever go away?

Modesto, CA |

I was originally pulled over in July 2003 and pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor DUI in September 2003. I was sentenced to three years informal probation and ordered to attend the schooling. I fully complied with all if the court orders and maintained my SR-22 insurance for three years. I am just wondering if there is any way that I can get this DUI removed from my record? Would I need to hire a lawyer to do so? Also, how long will this stay on my record if I am unable to get it expunged? Does a DUI ever go away? I have heard both seven and ten years. Any help will be greatly appreciated.

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Attorney answers 3


Your question is fairly common, we frequently help persons deal with the limitations of relief under the relevant statutes. You should definitely consult a lawyer before moving forward with an "expungement" as it has some limitations. In a nutshell, it varies from county to to county, but generally if you have completed your term of probation, and successfully completed the elements of your sentence, paid your fine, attended and completed the DUI school and done whatever time or community service was ordered (and any other punishment ordered as part of your sentence when you were convicted), you can petition the court for an expungement. A few years ago the enabling statute was changed from allowing the expungement to be granted upon request to discretionary with the a judge considering the facts and making a determination as to whether she/he will grant the request.

Please be advised that the granting of a petition is not automatic, our office has had a lot of success with these motions but it isn't a sure thing. You should also be aware that while an expungement will allow you to claim that you have never been convicted of a the crime you are seeking to have expunged, it will not remove it from your criminal record nor from your DMV record, you also must include it on most applications for government licenses and many other government employment applications. A lawyer can best answer questions you have regarding the limitations of an expungement.

Good luck.


Regardless of whether the DUI conviction is removed, it can be charged as a prior conviction for 10 years. It can also be considered for a variety of purposes - e.g., state licensing, etc. It will theoretically remain on your criminal record forever, with a notation that it was "dismissed" if you are able to get it expunged. Nevertheless, removing the DUI from your record does have some beneficial aspects to it, including the ability for you to say "no" when asked by a private employer if you've ever been convicted.

While it would be a good idea to hire an attorney if you're able to afford it, you can also petition the court on your own. Here is the link to the official court form that you would fill out:


It will be priorable for 10 years. The expungement doesn't make the concivtion go away. It means you can answer the question, "Have you ever been convicted of a crime?" In the negative. There are 3 exceptions to this, lottery, government licensing, government jobs.

Edward J. Blum