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Can a Felony DUI Be Expunged?

While the vast majority of DUI cases do not involve accidents or injuries, occasionally a drunk driver is involved in an accident that causes minor to serious bodily injuries to someone else, such as their own passengers, the driver or passengers of another vehicle.

Let’s say that in 2013, John took a deal for DUI with injury (no serious injuries) in Orange County. John was sentenced to 3 years of probation, but his probation was extended to 5 years so he had more time to pay restitution.

Now John wants to petition for early termination of probation because he has the money to pay the full restitution. He would like to see his DUI reduced or expunged, but someone told him that he has to wait 10 years.

This is his first DUI, does John actually have to wait 10 years?

Successfully Completing Probation

Fortunately, John was misinformed; he does not have to wait 10 years. California, however, does not have an expungement statute although John can apply for a dismissal of his conviction once he successfully completes his probation.

Having a DUI dismissed has some definite advantages, but John will not be able to erase or seal his record. In John’s case, he can seek to have his DUI dismissed after the 5 years of probation are up.

But…there is another way. If John wants to have his probation terminated before the 5-year mark, he must satisfy all of the terms and conditions of his probation, including paying off the restitution in full as well as all fees and fines.

Once John terminates his probation, he is eligible to have his felony DUI reduced to a misdemeanor under Penal Code Section 17(b). Once he does that, he can seek to have his DUI “dismissed” under Section 1203.4, which is pretty much what California offers in regards to an expungement.

What John heard about the 10 years was a mistake.

There are definite advantages to having a felony DUI reduced to a misdemeanor. To learn more, reach out to the Law Offices of Virginia L. Landry, Inc.!