DUI Conviction from 2003 in San Bernardino Expunged
At the arraignment, fearful of the court system and using a public defender, he entered into a no contest plea to a violation of Vehicle Code § 23152(b), also known as DUI with a blood alcohol content of 0.08% or higher by weight, and Vehicle Code § 22450(a), also known as running a stop sign.
The details of the plea bargain were that our client was sentenced to three years of summary probation on the following terms and conditions: payment of a court fine of $390, plus penalties and assessments (total was $1,224), enrollment in and completion of an alcohol awareness program and service of 45 days in county jail, less credit for 18 days. As the reader may appreciate, this was quite a bad plea bargain.
Count one, an alleged misdemeanor violation of Vehicle Code § 23152(a), driving under the influence of alcohol, was dismissed.
Our client completed all the terms and conditions of probation and probation ended with the passage of three years in 2004.
In late 2021, he contacted our office about expungement due to pressing employment concerns. He explained that he used to be an auto mechanic, but was laid off shortly after COVID-19 arrived in March 2020. He had left California and was living with his handicapped father in Algodones, New Mexico for almost a year. He was building a new home for himself and his father and his goal was to get a contractor’s license in New Mexico, but was told with his DUI conviction on his record, although 20 years old, it would be difficult to obtain a contractor license.
Our client further explained that he believed he would be denied other employment opportunities while having a conviction for DUI. This was having a crippling impact on his professional life.
Even if he did secure a job, he was aware that he could be subject to a routine background check, which would reveal this conviction and consequently, he may not be able to maintain employment. He had worked very hard over the last two decades to build his reputation as a responsible citizen and he did not want this conviction to ruin his goals and life. He was fearful that if he could not secure and keep a job, he would not be able to financially support himself and his father. He did not want his disabled father to pay for his son’s mistake.
Greg then explained that expungement (under California Penal Code § 1203.4) did not erase or delete the record of the case having been filed against him, but expungement did change the last plea in the case back to not guilty and the case record would show the matter ended in a dismissal, not a conviction. Furthermore, and more importantly, under California law, expungement would permit him to legally state he was never convicted of DUI (our client had no other convictions for DUI), with certain exceptions.
Greg did caution the client that under California law, a judge had discretion to deny a petition for expungement of a conviction for DUI, but that Greg had only seen this take place in a felony DUI with exacerbating factual circumstances.
The client then hired Greg Hill & Associates and our office prepared the petition for dismissal, a judicial council form, and supplemented it with a short memorandum of points and authorities, as well as a declaration from the client stating why he sought relief under Penal Code § 1203.4 to end or at least minimize the collateral effects of this twenty-year old conviction, which for him were personally and professionally severe.