Felony driving under the influence (DUI) convictions fall into two categories — those that led to a county jail sentence or another form of punishment and those that resulted in a state prison sentence. In order to get a felony DUI expungement, each case is approached differently. Skilled California DUI attorneys have the expertise needed to determine which approach will need to be utilized.
To expunge a DUI felony that did not result in a prison sentence, California DUI lawyers will need to petition the court to set aside the conviction in the interest of justice. If the court grants the petition, then the DUI offender will be allowed to withdraw his or her original plea of guilty or no contest, and then enter a plea of not guilty. If the DUI offender was convicted by a jury, then the court will set aside the jury’s verdict.
Felony DUI Expungement for Cases Resulting in State Prison Sentences
DUI felony convictions that led to a state prison sentence can be expunged in one of two ways — through a direct application to the governor or with a Certificate of Rehabilitation and pardon from the governor. In order to obtain a Certificate of Rehabilitation, it must be proven that the DUI offender has led an exemplary life for a specific amount of time and has been completely rehabilitated. The amount of time does vary and is dependent upon the underlying conviction. In addition, the DUI offender must have been a California resident for at least three years in order to submit the petition for Certificate of Rehabilitation. If the certificate is approved, it is then forwarded onto the governor for consideration of a pardon. Note that either the court, the governor’s office, or both may require an investigation as to the DUI offender’s conduct in prison and after release.