San Francisco DUI Attorney Explains Expungement

Posted on October 8, 2015

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Being convicted of driving under the influence can cause many severe negative repercussions, as our San Francisco DUI attorney can explain. It can mean losing your freedom and having to become dependent on other people for transportation. It can also cause you to get fired and impact the potential careers that are available to you. In some cases, it can also prevent you from getting a student loan or rental property. A San Francisco DUI attorney can explain whether expungement can help you avoid some of these negative effects.


An expungement is known by many names. Different jurisdictions refer to the expunging process in different ways. Some areas use the term “expunction” while others use the phrase “setting aside a criminal conviction.” Others refer to the process as the “sealing” of a criminal record. However, regardless of the term, the process involves hiding the conviction or arrest away. It is much different than a pardon and does not remove the conviction from all records. In many jurisdictions, a court can still consider an expunged record as proof of a prior conviction. This may include proceedings for sentencing, as well as immigration proceedings. The physical court record is not usually destroyed.

Benefits of Expungement

While your criminal record may still apply in a legal context, expungement focuses on improving the social aspects of a life after conviction. Expunging your record can mean that prospective employers may not see the conviction. Additionally, expunged records may not be visible to issuers of credit, rental agencies, educational institutions and other entities that conduct background checks.


A San Francisco DUI attorney can explain that not all DUI convictions may be able to be expunged. State laws vary regarding the necessary components that must exist before a person can petition for expungement. For example, many jurisdictions only permit expungements for first offenses. Others only allow expungements for arrests that do not actually result in a conviction after a trial or through a guilty or no contest plea. Other states use a test in which the crime may be expunged if it does not appear to be part of an established criminal pattern. Some states have particular rules that apply to juvenile offenders. Florida has some of the strictest expungement laws, providing expungement only in those cases involving DUI arrests in which charges were dropped, never filed or dismissed by the court. If the defendant was found not guilty, he or she is also eligible for expungement in Florida. Additionally, individuals there who apply for jobs or certifications for certain memberships may still have the existence but not the actual contents of their record disclosed to those entities.

California Rules

In contrast, California allows individuals who were convicted of a misdemeanor DUI violation may be eligible for expungement. There are certain procedures that must be followed, including the completion of probation if that applies. Additionally, the defendant must file a petition for expungement possibly with the help of a San Francisco DUI attorney asking for expungement. In some instances, felony convictions may also result in expungement if the San Francisco DUI attorney can get the original charge reduced to a misdemeanor. The court has the discretion to grant or deny such a request.

Legal Assistance from a San Francisco DUI Attorney

If you would like more information about expungement laws, contact a San Francisco DUI attorney by calling Silveira Law at (415) 795-3890.