First-Time DUI Conviction Expunged, Airport Courthouse
The specifics of the plea bargain were that our client was placed on three years of summary probation on the following terms and conditions: payment of a court fine of $390, plus penalties and assessments (total owed was $922), and enrollment in and completion of the AB 541 program. There was nothing more.
He complied with all terms and conditions of probation, which ended with the passage of three years in June 2021. While he was on probation, however, he was arrested for public intoxication in Manhattan Beach and later convicted in the Torrance Superior Court of violating Penal Code § 415 (“disturbing the peace”), wherein Greg Hill & Associates represented him, but the judge in the Airport Courthouse did not find this violated his probation in the DUI case.
In 2022, due to pressing employment concerns, our client (now 31 years old) called us up and asked about having his DUI conviction expunged. The client explained that he was eligible for a promotion at work and knew his criminal history would be reviewed as part of the promotion evaluation. He was aware that the new position, if he were promoted to it, required travel to Canada, so having the conviction expunged was important so he could rent a car there.
Greg explained that having the conviction expunged did not mean the entry on his Livescan about the DUI case being filed against him in 2018 would be deleted, erased or removed. Expungement only meant the last plea in the case would be changed back to not guilty and the judge would dismiss the case. The big benefit of expungement (more properly known legally as a petition for dismissal under Penal Code § 1203.4) was the client could legally claim he was never convicted in the case and this could have employment advantages.
Greg advised the client, furthermore, that a judge does have discretion under Penal Code §§ 1203.4(c)(1) and (c)(2) to deny expungement of a DUI conviction, as DUI is listed among other offenses under Vehicle Code §§ 12810(a) – (e), but Greg had only seen a judge do this in two cases. In one, which was Greg’s client, the client was also convicted of felony evading arrest in Orange County and had been driving at over 120 miles per hour when finally stopped by a P.I.T. maneuver. In the other case, in Torrance, the DUI was a felony DUI and the case was not Greg’s, but Greg was in court and observed the judge exercising such discretion.
The client had spoken with several other attorneys and none had warned him of this. Several, whose fees were quite a bit higher than Greg’s, told the client that expungement was a “slam dunk” and that the judge had no discretion to deny the motion, but this was incorrect. The client shared this with Greg and expressed his thanks that Greg did not mislead him as he suspected the other attorneys did, or were simply unaware of the law.
The client then retained Greg Hill & Associates to prepare, file, serve and then appear at the hearing on the client’s petition for dismissal. Our petition included a short points and authorities explaining the law applicable to 1203.4 and a short declaration from our client describing why he sought expungement. We explained to the judge that such extra material, beyond the judicial council form, was not required, but perhaps helped the judge feel more comfortable granting the petition, especially if he or she was aware of the discretion allowed to deny the petition.
Our office then prepared, filed and served the petition to the Los Angeles District Attorney’s office at the Airport Courthouse.
On the day of the hearing, the clerk for the judge assigned to hear the petition kindly called our office and advised that the judge had granted the petition in chambers (with no hearing) and that Greg did not need to appear in court.