Filing a Motion to Remove Arrest Record
As far as criminal records go, the Department of Justice controls that. In other words, if somebody wants to find out about an individual and whether that individual has a criminal record, they can do a live scan on the person where they take their fingerprints. Then the Department of Justice keeps records of everybody.
So, if you're arrested for a DUI, and they take your fingerprints, book you, take a photograph of you, and take you down to the police station, there will be a record that you were arrested for a DUI.
The only way to get rid of that arrest record is to file a motion with the police or a petition with the police and call the police to take that record out. They can do that, but they rarely will agree to do that for various policy reasons on their part.
They don't want to get sued for arresting somebody and then get the arrested out of there, and then the person uses that to say, see, they took it out of there because they knew it was an improper arrest.
It was false imprisonment. I'm using them now. I'm going to try to get money from them. So, they will very rarely grant a petition to seal and destroy an arrest record. Another way to get rid of the arrest record is to go into the Superior Court where the case would have had jurisdiction, file a motion with the judge, serve the prosecutor with the motion and then ask the judge to order the police/Department of Justice to take that arrest record out.
Of course, the City Attorney or the District Attorney in that jurisdiction will defend that motion and try to block it. It's a very high standard to get rid of an arrest record.
A recent Code section was passed that can be used if someone is arrested and the prosecuting agency does not file the case. Really what you need to do is consult with an attorney on this issue. Give them all the details of your case and see if your arrest record can be taken out related to your DUI case.
As far as any other criminal record goes related to DUI arrests in Los Angeles, if you're convicted in court, if you plead guilty or no contest, then you're going to have a record for a conviction for a DUI or a wet reckless or a dry reckless or a speed contest – whatever your attorney negotiates for you.
DUI Expungement in California
After you complete your probation on the case and do everything you're supposed to relate to your sentence, you can attempt to dismiss or delete that criminal record. There's no such thing as a true expungement in California expungement, meaning there is no such thing as completely getting rid of a DUI conviction.
You have to file the motion under Penal Code §1203.4 – typically, you're going to want an attorney to do that because the attorney is going to do it the right way and submit a declaration and the form. Then there's usually a fee with the court related to getting rid of that conviction.
Assuming that the court grants the motion, then when somebody looks your case up, instead of having a criminal conviction/record, it's now going to say that the case was dismissed, and a lot of times, it will say that the case was dismissed under Penal Code §1203.4.
Then people will know that means you were convicted of the case, but it was deleted. Other times, people cannot tell because they don't have the background to know why the case was dismissed.
But there's no way on an adult case to seal and destroy that conviction. After probation is over, you can file the expungement. Assuming the judge grants it, it will show that the case is dismissed. It's very frustrating for many people because they don't want to have a DUI criminal record, and a DUI is a crime. There's no question about that. Some people think DUIs are just traffic violations.
They are traffic violations, but they're violations of the California Vehicle Code, and they're a conviction. A crime. They're usually misdemeanors unless someone is seriously injured, and then the case can be filed as a felony.
So, the best that you can do with these DUI convictions is to get them dismissed in California. And even if you do get them dismissed under Penal Code §1203.4, which does help the record to a degree, if you have a DUI conviction, it will still be prior-able for ten years, which means if you get a new DUI in the future, they're still going to be able to look back ten years to see if you have any in those ten years.
If you do, they can charge it as a second-time DUI, third-time DUI, or fourth-time DUI, depending on how many prior convictions you have in that ten-year snapshot. So, if you're concerned about your DUI record, arrest, probation, what you can do – I think this article explains it pretty well, but your next best move is to get a DUI attorney who appears locally in the jurisdiction where your DUI was filed. If it's in Los Angeles, you get in touch with somebody like me.
We go over the entire case, and then we can see what, if anything, can be done to clean up your record to a degree so you can do everything possible to guard your future against this DUI conviction and protect your paper the best you possibly can.