In 2020, our client living overseas came to us, inquiring if it was possible to expunge a 2002 DUI conviction and a 2009 conviction for driving on a suspended license (due to the 2002 DUI, but never renewed). Our client was 38 in 2002, 45 in 2009 and was now 56. He had a top position at an “American School” in Southeast Asia and was about to be married. He was contemplating a move back to the United States with his new wife and to be employed here.
In 2002, the client was stopped by the CHP for allegedly making an unsafe lane change at about 1:00 a.m. on the 101 Freeway. His blood alcohol content was 0.13%. He had no prior criminal history. The client used a public defender and resolved the case in Van Nuys Superior Court with a conviction for violation of Vehicle Code § 23152(b) with three years of informal probation, the AB 541 three-month alcohol awareness program and a court fine of $390, plus penalties and assessments (total was $1,191).
In 2009, he was stopped by a police officer on his way to work in the morning. The officer asked to see our client’s driver’s license, which our client still had not renewed since it was suspended after his DUI in 2002. Our client sheepishly explained this and was then ticketed for driving on a suspended license under Vehicle Code § 14601.2(a), as well as driving with knowledge of having a suspended driver’s license (Vehicle Code § 14601.5(a)) and driving an unregistered vehicle (Vehicle Code § 12500) (the vehicle registration had expired).
On the 2009 case, our client resolved the case in Van Nuys Superior Court through a plea bargain using a public defender. The client agreed to plea no contest to a violation of Vehicle Code § 14601.2(a) and was placed on three years of informal probation on the condition that he serve ten days in Los Angeles County jail and pay a court fine of $300, plus penalties and assessments (about $1,000 in 2009).
After serving time in jail here, he paid his court fines and left the United States, resolving never to return.
Becoming engaged to be married and having a father with bad health made him reconsider moving back to the United States, as he explained to Greg Hill.
The client then asked about having these two convictions expunged because he would need to get a job upon returning to the United States. He also wanted to preserve the employment he did have overseas until he decided to leave and return to the United States.
Greg explained to the client that expungement did not erase, delete or remove the record of a criminal case having been filed against the client, but it did change the last plea from no contest or guilty back to not guilty and the judge would order the case dismissed. More importantly, as our client was vaguely aware, expungement under Penal Code § 1203.4 allowed the client to legally answer “no” if asked about having suffered a conviction in the case wherein a judge granted expungement.
The client then retained Greg Hill & Associates to prepare, file and serve a petition for dismissal in each case, as they were separate matters, although both were venued in the Van Nuys Superior Court.
In each case, our office then prepared the CR-180 judicial counsel form, “Petition for Dismissal,” and supplemented it with a short points and authorities that outlined the facts of the case, attached the docket report and had a short declaration from our client explaining why he sought expungement of the conviction. The declaration included a few photographs of our client with his fiancé.
Our office then filed and served each petition for dismissal in the Van Nuys Superior Court and paid the $120 filing fee that is the petition for dismissal fee in Los Angeles County.
In each case, the judge assigned granted the petition in chambers, without even a hearing, and our office received the signed order granting the petition. We then pdf’d each and e-mailed each one to our client, who was happy with the results.
For more information about expungement issues, please click on the following articles: