2002 DUI Conviction Expunged for Teacher, El Monte Court
At the time, our client was unemployed and was happy to resolve the case without having to serve any time in jail. In the underlying case, he had a 0.14% BAC and was not involved in a car accident and did not have any child or other passenger in his car. His license had expired and he had not taken care of renewing it with the DMV.
The terms of the plea bargain were that our client was placed on three years of summary, or informal, probation on the following terms and conditions: payment of a court fine of $390, plus penalties and assessments, and enrollment in and completion of the AB541, three-month alcohol awareness program. Count one, an alleged misdemeanor violation of Vehicle Code § 23152(a), driving under the influence of alcohol, was dismissed.
Our client then complied with all terms and conditions of probation and probation expired naturally with the passage of time in 2005.
The client then moved on in life, eventually become a middle school teacher. In 2022, however, seventeen years later, he became worried about this conviction and how it could ruin his continued employment because he was anticipating a promotion, but knew his criminal history would be evaluated during the process. He had heard about expungement, but did not really understand what it was or how it could help him.
The client then called Greg Hill & Associates and spoke with Greg Hill. The client explained his current employment situation, describing how he had worked for the same school district for eight years and was eligible for a promotion with higher pay. However, he was also anxious that his employer would discover his conviction from 17 years earlier and pass him over for promotion or even ask him to resign from continued employment in the school district.
Greg Hill then explained what expungement was and that, under California Penal Code § 1203.4 (“expungement”), a judge did have the discretion and the right to deny expungement of a DUI conviction. Greg explained that he had only seen two judges do so, one in Torrance on a felony DUI (not Greg’s case), and one in Orange County, where Greg’s client also was charged and convicted of felony evading arrest and the client’s BAC in the underlying DUI was quite high.
Most importantly, Greg explained that expungement does not erase, delete or remove the record of the case having been filed against someone, but that expungement did return the last plea in the case record to the original plea of not guilty and showed the case dismissed.
While these changes may not have any clear practical benefit to most people, expungement gave defendant the right to legally state on any employment application (with some exceptions) that he or she had not been convicted of the crime in the case where expungement was granted. That legal right could be the difference between getting a job and being rejected for a job.
The client then hired Greg Hill & Associates and the petition for dismissal (“expungement”) was prepared, along with a short supplemental memorandum of points and authorities and a short declaration from the client, now age 50, explaining why he sought expungement (his pressing employment concerns). The declaration also briefly described our client’s job at a middle school and what he did there. The declaration also included our client’s resume and a photo of him with his family, which was certainly not required, but can help the judge understand who our client is better.