How to Clear a DUI from Your Record in California

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If you’ve been convicted of a DUI in California, you understand the significant impact it can have on your life. A DUI conviction can lead to serious consequences, including fines, license suspension, and even potential jail time. However, the good news is that there are steps you can take to clear a DUI from your record in California. In this article, we will guide you through the process and provide valuable insights to help you navigate the legal system successfully.

Understanding DUI Laws in California

Before delving into how to clear a DUI from your record, it’s essential to understand the DUI laws in California. California has strict regulations in place to deter and punish drunk driving offenses. DUI offenses typically fall into two categories: misdemeanor DUI and felony DUThe penalties can vary depending on factors such as blood alcohol concentration (BAC), prior convictions, and the presence of aggravating circumstances.

Steps to Clear a DUI from Your Record in California


One option to clear a DUI from your record is through expungement. Expungement allows you to petition the court to dismiss your conviction after completing probation. Keep in mind that expungement does not completely erase your record but rather shows that the conviction has been dismissed. To qualify for expungement, you must have completed all the terms of your probation, paid all fines, and not currently be facing any other criminal charges.

Record Sealing

Another avenue to consider is record sealing. Record sealing is different from expungement, as it involves sealing your DUI conviction from public view. While this does not erase the conviction, it restricts access to it, making it invisible to most employers and background checks. To be eligible for record sealing, you must have successfully completed probation, fulfilled all the conditions of your sentence, and not have any additional criminal charges pending.

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Certificate of Rehabilitation

For individuals with felony DUI convictions, obtaining a Certificate of Rehabilitation is an option. A Certificate of Rehabilitation is a court order that declares you have been rehabilitated after serving your sentence. Although it does not expunge your record, it can demonstrate your commitment to turning your life around. Additionally, a Certificate of Rehabilitation may improve your chances of obtaining professional licenses or employment.

Set-Aside or Dismissal

Under certain circumstances, you may be eligible to have your DUI conviction set aside or dismissed. This option is typically available if you completed probation, paid all fines, and attended any required DUI programs. A set-aside or dismissal can be beneficial in employment and licensing situations, as it signifies that the conviction has been set aside by the court.

Hiring a DUI Attorney

Navigating the process of clearing a DUI from your record can be complex and overwhelming. It is highly recommended to seek the assistance of a qualified DUI attorney. An experienced attorney can help you understand the available options, guide you through the necessary steps, and represent your interests effectively. When hiring a DUI attorney in California, consider their expertise, track record, and reputation to ensure you receive the best possible legal representation.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How long does a DUI stay on your record in California?

A DUI conviction can stay on your record in California for ten years. However, by taking appropriate legal action, such as expungement or record sealing, you can mitigate the long-term consequences.

Can I clear a felony DUI from my record?

Yes, it is possible to clear a felony DUI from your record in California. You may be eligible to obtain a Certificate of Rehabilitation, which can demonstrate your rehabilitation and commitment to a law-abiding life.

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Is it possible to clear a DUI conviction without an attorney?

While it is technically possible to navigate the process without an attorney, it is highly recommended to seek legal representation. A DUI attorney possesses the necessary knowledge and expertise to navigate the legal system effectively, increasing your chances of a successful outcome.

How much does it cost to clear a DUI from your record in California?

The cost of clearing a DUI from your record can vary depending on various factors, including the specific legal process and the complexity of your case. It is advisable to consult with a DUI attorney to get an accurate assessment of the potential costs involved.


Clearing a DUI from your record in California is not an easy task, but it is possible with the right approach. By understanding the options available to you, such as expungement, record sealing, and obtaining a Certificate of Rehabilitation, you can take proactive steps to mitigate the impact of a DUI conviction. Remember, consulting with a DUI attorney is crucial to navigate the legal process effectively and increase your chances of a successful outcome. Take action today to clear your DUI from your record and move forward with a clean slate.

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