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Is There Any Way to Get my DUI Case Thrown Out or Expunged?

los angeles dui lawyerWhen facing DUI charges in Los Angeles, the first thought one might have is how to make this frightening ordeal end. People want to know how they can either get charges dismissed or expunged. This is understandable as a DUI puts many aspects of life on the line including work, family, and transportation issues.

Either function can be completed by an experienced Los Angeles DUI attorney. To best understand these processes and how they affect DUI, first understand the difference between dismissal and expungement.

Dismissal

Dismissal is when the charges go away. This means there is no conviction or criminal sentencing on your record.

When you are charged with a DUI, you are given the opportunity to enter a plea during your arraignment and depending on that plea, the court will sentence you or schedule you for a trial. Plead guilty and you will be convicted and sentenced, meaning the charges will stand. Plead not guilty and your case will be placed on the trial docket.

Once on the trial docket, DUI attorneys start dismissal efforts immediately. Los Angeles often hosts a busy docket and that allows plenty of time for your DUI attorney to discuss your charges with the prosecutor. After receiving more information from your lawyer, prosecutors may find evidence problematic and drop the charges—leading to a dismissal. Or they can agree to a lesser charge that will mean a lighter sentence for you. That dismisses the DUI charge but holds you accountable to the new charge which is normally a misdemeanor like wet reckless, exhibition of speed or sometimes reduced to a traffic infraction.

If your case goes to trial, there is a chance of dismissal. The jury can determine that the prosecution did not prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt to all 12 jurors and the court will dismiss the charges.

Expungement

Unlike dismissal which prevents a conviction in the first place, expungement occurs after conviction and usually at the end of probation. This process changes your plea from guilty to not guilty and shows the case is dismissed.

The process involves filing a petition with the court associated and serving it on the prosecutor. You will need to show that you completed probation requirements, paid any fines, performed restitution, and are not currently facing additional charges. A judge will review the information and if granted, the court will order to withdraw your guilty plea and enter a new plea of not guilty. Charges are then dismissed.

Some employers may still be able to find evidence of these charges and the previous guilty plea so you will need to disclose the expungement when asked in applications for public offices or state licenses.

Dismissal early in the case is the preferred outcome for defendants and Los Angeles DUI attorneys. However, knowing that expunging a record is an option after a conviction offers hope to move on from this mistake.

A DUI attorney in Los Angeles will have the resources and knowledge to help you explore dismissing the charges or expunge a record. Contact us today to see if these options are available in your case and proceed with peace of mind.

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