Can I Get My DUI Expunged?

As a DUI defense firm, we are asked every question under the sun about drug and alcohol-related arrests and convictions. For example, we are frequently asked, “Can I get my DUI expunged?” Some people want to know if this can be done while they are still on probation. So, we’re going to discuss this common question.

Let’s say “Joe” was arrested for DUI six months ago. He paid his fines and now he wants to know if he can apply for an expungement of the DUI. For starters, Joe can’t do anything at this point because he’s only been on probation for six months, and DUI probation typically lasts 36 months.

Joe should know that in California, NOTHING will remove the DUI from his DMV driving history other than time.This is because a DUI is reported on a person’s driving record for 10 years. There is nothing that can be done to shorten this reporting period.

Additionally, there’s no such thing as a true “expungement” statute in the state. What California does have is a “dismissal” under Penal Code 1203.4. If a dismissal were to be granted in Joe’s case, it wouldn’t wipe the case off of his criminal record, but it would add a notation that his case was dismissed.

Is it really worth it? Absolutely. An expungement or a “dismissal” under Sec. 1203.4 would allow Joe to legally tell most employers he has not been convicted of a crime, but the DUI would still remain on Joe’s DMV record for 10 years, even if he obtained a 1203.4 dismissal.


DUI defendants are not eligible for an expungement until they have completed their probation. It’s great that Joe finished paying his court-ordered fines but the court would have to terminate his probation early for him to apply for an expungement, and he’d have to file a motion to ask the court to do that.

Usually, these motions are filed by a DUI attorney as one motion, but early termination of probation requests are not always a slam dunk. If this is something that someone wants to do, they have nothing to lose.

Benefits of a DUI expungement (dismissal):

  • You can tell most employers that you have not been convicted of DUI (exceptions include teaching credentials, law enforcement careers, professional licenses, security clearance, and Armed Forces).
  • It is much easier to find a job.
  • It is much easier to get a loan.
  • It is much easier to rent an apartment or home.
  • If you apply for a professional license, such as a real estate license or nursing license, you show the board licensing organization that you have taken the steps to correct your mistake.

Related: How Long Does DUI Affect Auto Insurance Rates?

To learn more about filing for an expungement in Orange County, contact the Law Offices of Virginia L. Landry, Inc. for a free case evaluation with a Board-Certified DUI specialist!

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