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How likely is it that my DUI might be expunged?

Oakland, CA |
Attorney answers 5


It depends on the judge and whether you have completed your term of probation. Normally though, it is not a problem to get a first offense DUI conviction expunged. You really should check with an attorney knowledgeable about your county's practices. Some counties make you personally appear in Court, and a few judges want to see or hear a good reason for the expungement.


First, there is really no such thing as expungement in CA. What is often referred to as "expungement" is really just a dismissal under Penal Code section 1203.4. This will not remove the conviction from your record, but will place a notation next to the conviction saying that it has been dismissed. This will also entitle you to say that you have never been convicted of a crime (assuming you have no other convictions) on a job application, unless the job is one that requires state licensing, in which case you would have to disclose the conviction. The employer will see the conviction and the dismissal on any background check, but the law forbids employers from using a dismissed conviction against you, again, unless it is a job requiring state licensing, in which case they can still use it against you.

Unlike most offenses, where a petition for a 1203.4 dismissal is automatically granted, with a DUI, for some reason, the law gives the discretion to the judge so that you have to make an argument to the judge and convince the judge to grant the dismissal. Your best bet is to have a lawyer do this for you. Feel free to contact me if you are interested in hiring an attorney to handle this. Good luck to you.

Robert Lee Marshall

Robert Lee Marshall


In addition to the limitations Mr. Pullman mentions, an "expungement" will not prevent your first DUI from being alleged as a prior conviction in any new DUI case for the next ten years. A prior conviction can substantially increase the punishment for future DUI convictions.


The process to have the case expunged is to first get off of probation. If you are not on probation then this is no problem. If you are on probation then you would have to - or your lawyer would have to ask the court to terminate probation early.

Next you would have to pay all of your fines and fees. Then you could petition the court pursuant to 1203.4 to have the case dismissed in the interest of justice.

In California the process is called an expungement but it is not erased from your records. As Mr. Pullman correctly pointed out, after an expungement you can tell private employers you have NOT been convicted of a crime, but not for government jobs or licensing.

1203.4 is the closest thing that will clean up your record.

Mr. Pullman provided the forms. You can also hire an attorney to represent you in Oakland as well.

The above information does not establish an attorney client relationship nor is it meant to provide legal advice.


A lot will depend on the court you were convicted in, and the judge hearing the petition. I have been successful on all my expungements/dismissal's I have petitioned for clients, but granting them is discretionary for Judges on DUI convictions. You may want to consider hiring an attorney in your area familiar with the process. Good luck.

Legal disclaimer: This message does not constitute legal advice and is for informational purposes only. This message does not establish an attorney-client relationship, which can only be established once a retainer agreement has been fully executed between you and this firm.


I agree with the previous lawyers.

However, you should also look at the probationary period of time. Some courts will grant relief before probation has been completed if all of the other terms and conditions have been performed.

If you did not use a private attorney for the DUI, you can return to the Public Defender's office and ask them to assist. Otherwise, you can retain a DUI defense attorney to assist you. Some individuals choose to handle these matters on their own, but I cannot render an opinion as to how many times it takes them to get it right or how inconvenient it is for them to go back to court.

Everyone values their time somewhat differrently and you will have to choose how you plan to handle this.

Just remember, the fact that a crime is dismissed needs to be reported to most state professional licensing boards and departments when you have or are seeking to obtain licensure...even if that takes place many years from now.

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