California law allows certain types of convictions to be expunged from an individual’s record once the person has satisfactorily completed his or her court mandated sentence. Driving under the influence (DUI) is one type of conviction which is eligible to be expunged if a person convicted of the offense is able to comply with all court orders and sentences.

What an Expungement Is

If a case is expunged, it means that it will be re-opened, the clock turned back, and the original decision of the court reversed from a conviction to a dismissal. Considering that this is a step taken after a debt to society has been paid, the effect of an expungement is largely symbolic, as the main reason why people have cases expunged is so that they are not negatively impacted by the presence of a conviction on their criminal record – as would be the case in employment situations.

A conviction reversed to a case dismissal would carry the same significance as if a person had been arrested and charges filed, but the case was dismissed by a judge before a trial even started.

What Will Show in Criminal Background Checks

Most employers only run background checks for convictions, since convictions are what count, and prior to a conviction, a person is presumed innocent. Therefore, a California conviction that is reversed to an expungement will not show up in a background check for convictions. Some employers that require Department of Justice background checks – like the federal government – will be able to see a record of all charges, court cases, and arrests in a person’s criminal history, but even then, the reversed conviction will still only show as a case dismissal.

Compliance with Court Orders is No. 1 Priority

Anyone who is reading this because they are looking for information on how to have a recent DUI conviction expunged should realize that the entire process begins with the successful completion of all court mandated orders. Orders may include the order to perform community service, to refrain from operating a motor vehicle if a license has been suspended, to attend DUI and driver education classes, to abstain from consuming drugs or alcohol, and a variety of others.

Once a person has been convicted of driving under the influence in California, there is little that the person can do but deal with the consequences of his or her choices. An appeal is possible, but not guaranteed. If a conviction is handed down, dealing with the consequences honestly and head on is the best step a person can take if he or she ever wants to have the conviction expunged.

Being caught driving on a suspended license, consuming alcohol while on probation, or violating any one of the many court orders that will no doubt be imposed following a conviction will only hurt the person’s chances of having his or her case expunged. Plus, if the violation is severe enough, the person risks having the DUI conviction staying on his or her permanent record for a long while.