Our client suffered a DUI when she was just 21. She had a 0.16% blood alcohol content (BAC) and was allegedly speeding along 190th Street. The arrest took place in Redondo Beach and the case was filed in the Torrance Courthouse.
In a Nutshell: Client in Torrance had a conviction for DUI that was complicating her travels to Canada to visit her family there and compromising her career opportunities. Our office filed the petition for dismissal and had the client’s DUI conviction expunged for her.
At the time, the client had a two-year old son and had recently completed her high school diploma from an adult school after the delay brought on by the birth of her son.
Five years later, she had completed probation and was completing her undergraduate degree in biology from UC Santa Cruz. At Santa Cruz, she had worked in the Lowell / Stevenson dining hall, but with the DUI conviction on her record, despite having a certification as a food handler, she was finding it very difficult to gain employment in the food industry.
Her career goal was to work in the restaurant industry and perhaps someday, first manage and later own her own restaurant. She enjoyed the industry and the demanding work, plus the financial rewards of having a successful restaurant or chain of restaurants. She dreamed of owning her own restaurant and using her hard work to see it succeed.
The DUI was causing additional problems for her on the family front. She had family in Canada and having a DUI conviction affected her ability to rent a car and get a driver’s license in Canada.
She then contacted Greg Hill & Associates and asked about having her conviction for DUI expunged. Greg explained to her, to make things clear, that expungement would not erase or delete the record of the case filing from her record, but it would change her final plea back to “not guilty” and show the case dismissed. The client was already aware that relief under Penal Code § 1203.4 would allow her to legally say she was never convicted insofar as this DUI.
Greg further warned the client that under Penal Code § 1203.4(c)(1) and § 1203.4(c)(2), the judge had discretion to deny a request for expungement for certain convictions listed under Vehicle Code § 12810. Under § 12810(b), DUI was listed, so the judge could deny her request for expungement, but Greg commented that he had never seen a judge do this in Torrance.
Somewhat reassured, the client agreed to try for expungement.
Greg then asked the client about her personal background and explained the way a petition for dismissal under Penal Code § 1203.4 is processed in Torrance. Greg explained that the Los Angeles Superior Court charges $120 for processing the petition and later, if it is granted, to forward the ruling to the California Department of Justice (DOJ) for changing the client’s criminal history.
Greg and his office then worked with the client to prepare a declaration from her in support of the petition for dismissal. Greg also prepared a supplemental memorandum in support of the petition.
Redondo Beach Harbor
The petition was then filed and the court fees paid. The Redondo Beach City Prosecutor was served with the petition and did not oppose it.
The court then set a hearing on the petition, which was very rare (at that time it was rare; since then every such petition is set for a hearing). Greg became concerned that the judge had discovered the client has some type of pending criminal matter or that she was on probation for another matter (or was going to deny the petition under 1203.4(c)(1) or 1203.4(c)(2)).
Greg then notified the client of the hearing and attended it in the Torrance Superior Court. As it turned out, there was no surprise additional information about the client that undermined the petition. The judge just wanted to have a hearing on it, which was unusual because in Torrance, most judges (then) handled such petitions in chambers.
The Torrance judge granted the petition, which greatly pleased the client. She was eager to apply for jobs in various restaurants. Greg cautioned her to wait a few weeks for the DOJ to update their records on her DUI case and to even run a Live Scan on herself to verify her record had been changed to reflect the expungement from Torrance.
For more information about expungement issues, please click on the following articles:
- Is Expungement Worth It?
- What Does the New Law in 2015 Concerning Expunged Convictions Mean for State License Applications?
- Trial Court That Denied Expungement Because Petitioner Given a Five Year Joint Suspended Sentence Is Reversed on Appeal