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Can my Teen’s DUI case be Sealed in California?

A criminal history can have long-term adverse consequences for your teenager. A criminal record could prevent your child from receiving scholarships and grants for college. Juvenile criminal records could impact your child’s career choice and have serious financial impacts on their future.

For that reason, it is essential to work with an experienced California DUI attorney to minimize the impact of DUI arrests. In addition, a lawyer can help you with DUI expungement and requests to seal juvenile DUI records in California. 

What Does It Mean to Seal Juvenile Records in California?

Many people believe their criminal records from juvenile court automatically disappear when they turn 18 years old. However, that is not the case. Assembly Bill 666 results in some juvenile records being sealed automatically. However, many violations might not be automatically sealed by the court.

Never assume that the court sealed your juvenile record for a DUI case. Instead, always check with the court or a California DUI defense lawyer about records sealed after the court resolves the case. 

Your juvenile record contains all information regarding every juvenile court appearance and criminal activity you were involved in as a minor. It includes:

  • Arrest reports
  • Police investigations
  • Exhibits
  • Evidence
  • Orders and judge’s findings
  • Probation reports
  • Other information submitted to the court regarding the charges against you or the matter that brought you before the juvenile court

When the court seals a juvenile record, the file ceases to exist in the public records. Therefore, your child can answer no to questions such as were you ever arrested, do you have a sealed record, or do you have a criminal record.

What Types of Juvenile Cases Are Sealed in California?

Under the Welfare and Institutions Code §781 WIC, your juvenile record may be eligible for sealing if you meet all the following criteria:

  • You are now at least 18 years old OR the juvenile court’s jurisdiction ended over five years ago
  • You have not been convicted of misdemeanors or crimes as an adult that involves moral turpitude, including certain sex crimes, drug offenses, and theft crimes
  • The court finds you are rehabilitated 
  • You have no pending civil lawsuits arising from the charges against you as a juvenile 

Specific crimes listed in WIC §707(b) are automatically ineligible for sealing by the courts. The court does not seal the juvenile record if you commit any of these crimes after turning 14 years of age. Examples of those crimes include, but are not limited to:

  • Robbery
  • Murder and attempted murder
  • Rape
  • Arson
  • Kidnapping
  • Assault with a firearm or utilizing force that would produce great bodily harm
  • Discharge of a firearm into an occupied or inhabited building
  • Violent felonies described in penal Code §667.5(c)
  • Torture as described in Penal Code §§206 and 206.1
  • Voluntary manslaughter

There is another way to seal some juvenile criminal records. Penal Code Section 851.7 states that if you were a minor and arrested for a misdemeanor, the court might seal your records if:

  • The court released you because the state had insufficient evidence to hold you for the charges
  • The court acquitted you of the charges
  • The court dismissed the charges or discharged the charges without a conviction 

Under this section of the penal code, you may petition the court to seal your juvenile record at any time, even before you turn 18 years of age. 

Will a California Court Seal My Teen’s Juvenile DUI Case?

Most drunk driving convictions by minors are eligible to be sealed. However, a minor may be charged with one or more crimes for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Most of those crimes fall under the California Vehicle Code.

Generally, the juvenile probation department in the county of arrest contacts the minor and the parents within a few days or weeks after the DUI arrest. They request a meeting to discuss the charges and other factors related to underage drinking. You have the right to have a California DUI defense lawyer with you and your child during this interview, all future meetings, and all court appearances.

If the court finds your teenager guilty of drunk driving, the court may sentence your child to time in juvenile detention, community service, substance abuse counseling, and formal or summary probation. The probation may include numerous terms and conditions your child must obey.

Juvenile DUI cases may be sealed when the teenager turns 18 years of age. 

What Is the Process for Sealing a Juvenile DUI Case in California?

Generally, it takes eight to ten months to seal a juvenile record in California by using the provisions in the Welfare and Institutions Code §781. You begin by filing a petition with the juvenile court in the county you were arrested for underage drinking and driving. 

Your criminal defense lawyer can handle this for you and may appear in court on your behalf in some cases. You may also file the petition yourself, but you are responsible for ensuring the petition and all required documents and evidence are presented correctly to seal your juvenile records.

The juvenile court schedules a hearing date to hear your petition. During the hearing, the judge reviews your petition and the evidence you present. He also reviews other records related to your juvenile DUI arrest, including your probation record and information provided by the District Attorney, Probation Officer, and other parties.

Based on the facts of your case, the judge may deny or grant your petition to seal your juvenile DUI case. If the judge seals your DUI case, the court issues an order and sends the order to all agencies with possession or access to your records. The agencies must seal the records. 

Agencies destroy sealed records unless the court determines your records must be retained and sealed. However, this situation does not occur often.

What Happens to a Teen’s Driving Record when a Court Seals a Juvenile DUI Case?

Sealed juvenile records are very rarely reopened. However, the California Department of Motor Vehicles maintains a record of underage drinking and driving charges and DUI offenses involving minors under the California Vehicle Code. 

By law, the DMV may allow automobile insurance adjusters to view juvenile DUI cases that appear on a person’s driving record. The insurance company uses the information to determine driving risk and insurance eligibility. However, the insurance company must keep the records confidential and only use the records to determine insurance eligibility and rates.

However, the sealed DUI cases would not be available to the general public. 

What Are the Penalties for Underage DUI in California?

The two primary laws used to charge minors with drinking and driving are:

  • California’s Zero Tolerance Law (Vehicle Code §23136)
  • Underage Driving with a BAC of .05% or higher (Vehicle Code §23140)

Teenage drivers violate these laws if they have any alcohol in their system while driving. The alcohol does not need to impair their driving ability. Instead, they violate the law by merely operating a motor vehicle with alcohol in their system. 

Underage DUIs are punished as follows:

  • Zero Tolerance violation – one year suspended driver’s license
  • Underage drinking and driving – one year suspended driver’s license, alcohol education program, and a $100 fine

Neither of these crimes results in criminal penalties. However, a minor could be charged with a violation of the “adult” DUI laws, including:

  • Driving under the influence under Vehicle Code §23152
  • Having a BAC above the legal limit of .08%
  • Driving under the influence of drugs
  • Causing an accident while intoxicated

Unlike the DUI charges for minors, a conviction of an “adult” drunk driving offense results in criminal penalties. Your teenager could  be sentenced to:

  • Three to five years of summary probation
  • Up to six months in county jail
  • Mandatory alcohol education program
  • A fine of up to $1,000
  • Driver’s license suspension 

If your teenager causes a DUI accident, the penalties may increase substantially. A misdemeanor charge could result in up to one year in jail, along with DUI school, fines, and probation. A felony charge increases the incarceration time to two to four years in prison. In addition, fines for DUI accidents can be as high as $5,000.

If a minor refuses to take a breath test, either before or after an arrest, it results in an automatic one-year suspended driver’s license. In addition, the DMV may revoke driving privileges for two or more years if the teen driver has one or more prior convictions for refusing a chemical test, DUI, or wet reckless.

Are There Legal Defenses to Underage DUI in California?

Because having any alcohol in their system violates the underage drinking and driving laws, it can be challenging to fight underage DUI laws. However, you should speak with a California DUI defense attorney before your teenager pleads guilty. There could be one or more DUI defenses that might result in the charges being dismissed.

If your teenager faces “adult” DUI charges, contact a California DUI lawyer as soon as possible. The consequences of a DUI conviction for a teenager are serious. 

A DUI attorney evaluates the case to develop a defense strategy that gives your teenager the best chance of beating the DUI charges. Several DUI defenses could be available for your teenager to use, including violations of their civil rights, lack of probable cause, and errors with chemical tests. 

Protect your teenager’s legal rights and future by seeking advice from an experienced California DUI criminal defense lawyer. 

Can I Have my Probation Terminated Early After a California DUI?

Yes, California laws give judges the authority to “revoke, modify, or change” an order for probation at any time. In some cases, a judge might also reduce a felony charge to a misdemeanor and expunge the charges from a person’s criminal record. 

You must petition the court requesting early termination of probation after a DUI conviction. It is not automatic. In most cases, you want an experienced California DUI defense attorney to file a motion with the court on your behalf to have your probation terminated early. 

California criminal defense lawyers understand the requirements for early termination of probation. An attorney also understands how to create a compelling argument that you deserve early termination of probation after a drunk driving conviction. 

Petitioning the court is just the first step in the process. Next, you must convince the judge that your good conduct justifies an order termination probation early. Let’s discuss the process of requesting early termination of probation after a DUI in more detail. 

What Is the Process to Have My Probation Terminated Early After a DUI in California?

The authority for courts to grant early termination of probation is found in Penal Code Section 1203.3 PC. Terminating your probation begins with filing a motion for early termination with the court and the prosecutor’s office. You must file the motion at least two days before a requested hearing date.

Generally, your California DUI attorney discusses your desire to end your period of probation early with the prosecutor who handled your case. Your attorney explains why you want to terminate probation early. He also explains the reasons why you deserve an early termination of probation.

The goal of discussing the matter with the prosecutor before filing the motion is to get the prosecutor’s agreement to support the motion. If the prosecutor cannot agree to support your motion, the second best thing would be for the prosecutor to agree not to oppose the motion. 

At the hearing on your motion, your California DUI lawyer explains why the court should grant the motion. He argues that your good conduct and reform justify an order termination DUI probation early. The goal is to convince the judge that you are an upstanding citizen and ending your DUI probation serves the interest of justice.

The court might not require you to attend the hearing. However, attendance at your hearing to terminate probation early may be in your best interest. It shows the court that you respect the court’s time enough to show up. However, discuss this matter with your lawyer before the hearing. There could be instances where your appearance would hurt your chances of early termination of probation.

What Does the Court Consider When Deciding Whether to Grant Early Termination of DUI Probation?

Penal Code §1203.3 allows a judge to terminate DUI probation at any time during the term of probation. However, many judges only terminate probation early if you have completed at least one year of probation if convicted of a misdemeanor. In addition, for felony offenses, many judges only grant motions for early termination of probation after you have been on probation for at least 18 months.

However, the law gives judges the ability to terminate probation at any time within their discretion. Therefore, your attorney may make a case that your situation justifies earlier probation termination. The facts and circumstances of your situation and what the judge believes will serve justice dictate the outcome of your hearing.

Judges terminate probation when a person’s “good conduct and reform” justify granting the motion for early termination. Each judge must decide what qualifies as good conduct and reform. However, some things that judges consider include, but might not be limited to:

  • Your criminal background
  • The criminal offense that resulted in formal probation or summary probation
  • Whether probation is causing undue hardship for your
  • The opinion of the district attorney’s office
  • The conditions of probation

When considering the terms of your probation, most judges require that you successfully complete all requirements of probation before they terminate DUI probation. That would include, but not be limited to:

  • Performing required community service
  • Payment of fines and assessments
  • Completing the payment of restitution to victims
  • Completing required counseling sessions
  • Finishing court-mandated alcohol and/or drug treatment programs
  • Installing and using an ignition interlock device (IID) as required by the court
  • Finishing DUI school
  • Attending MADD or other programs as required by the court

In other words, you need to complete each requirement and condition of probation before a judge grants an early termination. However, as stated above, there could be extenuating circumstances. You need to talk with a lawyer if you believe you deserve an early probation termination, but you have not completed all conditions of probation.

In some cases, judges consider situations of undue hardship created by being on probation for driving under the influence. For example, you cannot qualify for a student loan or a home loan because of your DUI probation. Your probation might prevent you from obtaining steady employment or qualifying for a professional license. Judges consider each case on the merits and facts specific to that case.

What Are the Benefits of Seeking Early Termination of Probation After a DUI Conviction?

Seeking early termination of DUI probation may appear to be a worthless endeavor unless the probation is causing you hardship. However, a benefit of terminating DUI probation early is avoiding the risk of violating probation.

A probation violation may occur if you are stopped for driving under the influence. Most DUI probation terms include abstaining from driving under the influence and agreement to take a roadside breathalyzer test if the police pull you over for a DUI stop.

A probation violation charge is serious. Even if you beat the new DUI charge or other criminal charges, the judge can sentence you to prison or jail for violating probation. The sentence may be up to the maximum for the DUI charge. You are not entitled to a jury trial for violating probation. Even if you are not sentenced to jail, the judge could modify the terms of your DUI probation by adding new, harsher terms and lengthening the probation term. 

Another benefit of early termination of DUI probation is that you can petition the court for DUI expungement. Even though the DUI arrest remains on your record, the conviction is removed, and the court dismisses the original case. Employers, landlords, colleges, and other parties may not view a DUI dismissal as harshly as a DUI conviction. 

Does the Court Expunge My DUI Conviction if It Grants Early Probation Termination?

It is possible for your DUI to be expunged when the court terminates your DUI probation early under California Penal Code §1203.4. In addition, if you were charged with a felony wobbler offense, the judge may also reduce the DUI offense to a misdemeanor. 

Generally, DUI convictions can be expunged if you meet the following criteria:

  • A state court heard your case and issued the conviction 
  • The judge did not sentence you to serve time in state prison
  • You did not violate any terms of your probation 
  • You are not currently charged with a crime, serving time for another crime, or on probation because of another criminal conviction
  • It has been one year or longer since your DUI conviction, or you completed probation
  • You met all the terms of your probation and DUI sentence

When the judge grants an early termination of probation, your probation is complete. Therefore, the court should expunge your DUI conviction if you meet all other criteria.

Ask your California DUI defense lawyer about filing a motion for expungement and reduced sentence when filing a motion to terminate probation early. 

What Should I Do if a Police Officer Stops Me for Driving Under the Influence in California? 

You can avoid DUI probation by having drunk driving charges dismissed. A California DUI defense attorney can help you fight DUI charges.

Some important things to remember that can help your beat charges of driving under the influence include, but are not limited to:

  • You are not required to take field sobriety tests or a pre-arrest breath test if you are not on probation 
  • California’s implied consent laws require you to take a chemical test after a DUI arrest or face losing your driving privileges and enhanced penalties for a DUI conviction
  • You are not required to answer questions from the police about whether you have been drinking or where you have been 
  • You have the right to remain silent and have legal counsel
  • There could be several DUI defenses, including lack of probable causes, chemical test inaccuracies, and police officer misconduct and errors

Contact a DUI attorney as soon as possible after an arrest. The sooner a lawyer begins working on your case, the better it is for your DUI defense. 


Having a DUI arrest on your criminal record can cause problems in the future. Employers, landlords, colleges, scholarship committees, professional licensing agencies, and other people running a background check might look unfavorably upon a DUI arrest. It does not matter that you were never convicted. The mere fact that you were arrested for driving under the influence can make you appear “guilty” to some people.

The good news is that you can talk to your California DUI defense lawyer about having your DUI arrest records sealed and destroyed. California laws permit individuals to wipe away arrest records from their criminal records if they were never convicted of the crime.

That means you could get rid of records including:

  • Your fingerprints
  • Chemical test results
  • Police reports with the details of your DUI stop and arrest
  • Arrest booking photographs
  • Police statements related to field sobriety tests and observations that gave them probable cause to make an arrest (i.e., you smelled of alcohol, you had slurred speech, your eyes were bloodshot, etc.)
  • Rap sheet entries

Having DUI arrest records in California sealed and destroyed can significantly impact your future. Our California DUI defense attorney explains the process to seal and destroy DUI records in this article. We encourage you to reach out to us if you have additional questions or concerns.

What Are the Eligibility Requirements for Having DUI Arrest Records Sealed and Destroyed?

California Senate Bill No. 393, signed by Governor Jerry Brown on October 11, 2017, was codified in California Penal Code 851.87 PC. Under the code section, a person may petition the court to seal the arrest record as a matter of right under one of five circumstances. 

You have the right to seal the records of a DUI arrest if any of the following situations apply:

  • The prosecutors never filed criminal charges
  • The state filed the criminal charges, but the prosecutor or the court dismissed the charges 
  • A jury acquitted you after a jury trial (found you not guilty of the DUI charges)
  • A court vacated or overturned your DUI conviction on appeal
  • You successfully completed a presentencing or pretrial diversion program 

However, some exceptions to the law allowing a person to petition the court for sealing and destruction of arrest and court records exist. Fortunately, these exceptions should not impact a petition to seal and destroy records from a DUI arrest for most individuals.

Are There Exceptions to the Law for Sealing Arrest Records?

Some people are not eligible to have their arrest records sealed. Exceptions include:

  • The person could not be charged with a crime because they intentionally evaded police efforts to prosecute the arrest
  • The state may still charge the person with a crime under the arrest
  • The person evaded efforts to prosecute the arrest through identity fraud and resulted in being charged for identity fraud  
  • The arrest was for murder or other crimes that do not have a statute of limitations unless a court acquitted the person or found them factually innocent of the charge upon a petition of factual innocence 

The law makes an exception for sealing records as a matter of right when the criminal charges involve elder abuse, child abuse, or domestic violence. A judge would need to determine whether sealing these records serves the interests of justice. 

Only individuals who were not convicted of DUI charges can petition to seal their arrest records. However, if your DUI arrest resulted in a conviction, talk with your California DUI attorney about expunging a DUI conviction. 

What is the Process for Having DUI Arrest Records Sealed and Destroyed in California?

Your California DUI lawyer handles most of the work to file a petition to have your DUI arrest records sealed and destroyed. A petition to seal DUI arrest records must contain specific information required by statute. The law requires that the petition includes:

  • Your name and date of birth
  • The date of the DUI arrest that you want the court to seal
  • The city and county where police officers arrested you for drunk driving
  • The name of the law enforcement agency making the DUI arrest
  • Any relevant information that identifies the arrest, such as a court number or case number
  • A description of the alleged DUI offenses you were arrested under or charged with by the prosecutor’s office
  • A statement that you are entitled to have your DUI arrest sealed as a matter of right or to serve the interests of justice
  • If you base your petition on the interests of justice, you must include an explanation of how the interest of justice would be served if the court granted your petition to seal DUI records

After preparing the petition, your attorney takes the steps necessary to have your DUI records sealed. The general steps in the process include:

File the Petition to Seal DUI Records

File a petition to seal arrest records with the Superior Court that handled the original arrest charge if there were no criminal charges filed, the petition file the petition in the county or city where the arrest occurred.

Under Penal Code §851.8, the law imposed a two-year deadline from the arrest date or the filing of charges (whichever is later) to file a petition to seal arrest records. However, Penal Code §851.87 does not impose a deadline for filing the petition. However, it is best to file the petition as soon as possible. 

Service of Process 

Serve the petition on the law enforcement agency that arrested you and the prosecutor in the county or city of the arrest.

Hearing Scheduled 

If the District Attorney objects to your petition to seal DUI arrest records, the court schedules a hearing. Depending on the county of filing, you may or may not need to appear at the hearing. Some counties only require the attorney of record to appear. However, you and your California DUI lawyer discuss the pros and cons of appearing for the hearing if the county does not require you to be present.

During the hearing, the judge examines your DUI arrest records, and any evidence why sealing the DUI records would serve the interests of justice, if applicable. The judge has broad discretion to deny or grant your petition to destroy DUI arrest records. 

Because the judge could deny your petition with prejudice (you cannot file another request), hiring experienced legal counsel to handle the petition to seal drunk driving arrest records is in your best interest. 

You may only have one chance to get it right. First, you need someone who understands the law and the process of sealing adult DUI arrest records. An attorney ensures that all required forms are filed with the court. The attorney carefully reviews the forms to ensure they contain complete and accurate information. 

What Happens After the Court Grants the Petition to Seal DUI Arrest Records in California?

It takes about three months after filing a petition with the court for the court to issue an order sealing your DUI arrest records. Within 30 days after entering the order, the court notifies the following parties:

  • The California Department of Justice
  • The law enforcement agency that arrested you for driving under the influence 
  • The law enforcement agency that manages the master criminal history records

The agency updates your master criminal record to note that the court ordered your DUI arrest sealed. The file is no longer a matter of public records. It cannot be released to parties outside of the criminal justice system. The law enforcement agency that made the arrest updates all records, digital and physical, to note the DUI arrest was sealed by the court.

DUI arrest records are a matter of public record. If you have a DUI conviction expunged, the arrest remains on your criminal history as a dismissed case.

However, sealed DUI arrests are no longer a matter of public record. Anyone searching your criminal history will not see the drunk driving arrest. The DUI arrest is only available to you and a criminal justice agency. If your sealed DUI arrest records are released in violation of the law, the party distributing the sealed records faces a civil fine of $500 to $2,500.

You might have a civil claim against the party for compensatory damages. In addition, a court could award punitive damages if the release of your sealed DUI arrest records involved intentional or reckless conduct. 

Is the Process for Sealing a Juvenile DUI Arrest Record the Same as Sealing an Adult DUI Arrest?

No, the process under Penal Code §851.87 is for sealing and destroying adult arrest records. It is a different process than the one for sealing a juvenile record. 

You could be eligible to seal a juvenile DUI arrest if you:

  • Are an adult OR the jurisdiction of the juvenile court ended at least five years ago;
  • You have not been convicted of any crimes of moral turpitude as an adult; and,
  • You do not have any pending civil litigation related to the juvenile DUI charges, such as a personal injury lawsuit from a DUI accident. 

If you have questions about sealing and destroying adult or juvenile DUI arrest records, seek legal advice from an experienced drunk driving defense lawyer in California. 

What are the Long-term Consequences of a DUI?

Being arrested for driving under the influence (DUI) in California has several short-term consequences. For example, you could spend the night in jail, and the police officer confiscates your driver’s license. 

After being arrested for DUI, the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) may suspend your driver’s license in an administrative hearing. A driver’s license suspension can have a ripple effect throughout many areas of your life. For example, you may be unable to get to work or take your children to school.

However, being arrested and convicted of drunk driving can have long-term consequences. The long-term consequences of a DUI can have lifelong implications. Working with a California DUI defense lawyer can help minimize the adverse effects of a DUI arrest and conviction. 

Long-Term Consequences of a DUI in California 

The long-term consequences of a DUI charge and conviction may include, but are not limited to:

Car Insurance Rates Increase

Most insurance companies increase auto insurance rates after a DUI charge. An insurance company views DUI convictions as a high risk. People who drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs have a higher chance of being involved in a drunk driving accident. 

Therefore, your insurance premium for car insurance could increase for several years. Furthermore, an SR22 form is required when you want to reinstate your driver’s license following a DMV license revocation or suspension. You must also have SR22 if you continue driving with an ignition interlock device (IID).

An SR22 is a certificate of insurance. You must contact your insurance company to obtain the SR22 certificate. It will now know if your insurance company did not previously know about your DUI conviction. The company accesses your DMV records to determine why you need the SR22 form. 

Many insurance companies do not provide SR22 coverage. Therefore, if the insurance company cancels your policy or you must find insurance with another company to obtain an SR22 form, you might be deemed a “high risk” driver. If so, you may pay a much higher insurance rate.

Eventually, you may see your car insurance rates decrease if you have a clean driving record for at least three years.

Driver’s License Suspension or Revocation

Being convicted of drunk driving may result in losing your driving privileges. Your driver’s license may be suspended for six months to a year for your first DUI conviction. However, the court could suspend your driving privileges for much longer for repeated DUIs or when there are aggravating factors. 

You must apply for a new driver’s license at the end of your suspension. You must pay the fees and assessments for obtaining a new license. If your driver’s license is revoked, you cannot reinstate your driving privileges.

Being unable to drive makes it difficult to get to work. If your employer requires you to drive as part of your job, you may lose your job. In addition, your children may have trouble getting to school and extra-curricular activities.

Losing your freedom to drive means losing your freedom to attend social gatherings and run errands. Arranging for rides and public transportation after a DUI can be costly, time-consuming, and frustrating.

Installation of an Ignition Interlock Device

The court might order you to install an ignition interlock device (IID). An IID is a device that checks your blood alcohol level (BAC) before you can start your car. You must choose an IID company approved by the court.

The IID is wired to your vehicle’s ignition system. You must provide a breath sample by blowing into a valve before the engine starts. If the device detects alcohol, the car will not start. You might need to blow into the device periodically while driving to ensure you have not consumed any alcohol.

You are responsible for paying for the IID device. Installation can cost several hundred dollars. Additionally, the company charges a monthly monitoring fee. Courts may require IIDs for several years. If you want to drive, you have no choice but to pay for the device. 

Employment and Professional License Suspension or Revocation

A DUI arrest may immediately jeopardize your employment. Employers may fire you for missing time from work for court hearings, community service, and jail time. 

Truck drivers, delivery drivers, and other people who must drive a vehicle for their job could immediately lose their job for driving under the influence. If you drive for work, you might need to change your career because of a DUI conviction. 

If you do not lose your job, you might have trouble finding employment in the future. Future employers may check your criminal record. A DUI remains on your criminal record for ten years. Felony DUIs stay on your record forever.

A drunk driving conviction could impact some professional licenses. If you hold a professional license, review the standards for revocation of your license. Even though the association does not discover your DUI immediately, it could be a problem when you apply for your license renewal. 

Enhanced Penalties for Subsequent DUI Offenses

Under California law, DUIs are “priorable” offenses. Each DUI within the past ten years enhances your sentence for a current drunk driving conviction. Felony DUIs remain on your record forever.

Enhanced DUI penalties could include longer jail sentences, higher fines, mandatory IID installation, longer terms of summary probation, and longer periods of driving suspension. 

Disclosure in Background Checks 

In addition to employers, schools, landlords, financial institutions, and other parties may conduct background checks. A DUI shows up on your criminal background check.

A DUI could result in not receiving a scholarship or grant for college. A landlord might deny a rental application. Many companies perceive a drunk driving charge as a negative indication of your reliability and ability to make sound decisions. 

Increased Life Insurance Rates

A DUI on your record could increase your premiums when you apply for life insurance. The life insurance company may view you as high risk and more costly to insure. It is similar to someone who smokes cigarettes, works in a high-risk job, or participates in high-risk activities. 

International Travel Restrictions

DUIs can complicate travel to another country. Some countries bar entry for anyone who has a criminal record. For example, a DUI conviction can prevent you from entering Canada

Damage to Personal and Professional Relationships

A DUI conviction could impact your relationships with co-workers, friends, and family members. People may perceive you differently after a DUI arrest or conviction. For example, your family members may be angry that you risked your life and the lives of others in the vehicle with you.

Some individuals experience guilt or embarrassment after a drunk driving charge. Those feelings could cause depression and isolation, negatively affecting professional and personal relationships. 

End or Deny a Military Career

DUIs for active service members can be problematic. You may be punished in criminal court, but you could also receive penalties from the military. If you want to join the military, a DUI on your criminal record could be a problem. 

Military personnel are held to higher standards than the general public. Therefore, driving under the influence could result in being found unfit for duty or being demoted in rank.

Issues with United States Immigration Status

Being arrested for any reason could negatively impact your immigration status. For example, being convicted of DUI in California could result in deportation. In addition, repeated DUIs might prevent you from gaining permanent U.S. citizenship.

LIability in Civil Lawsuits

Causing a DUI accident results in severe criminal penalties. In California, killing or injuring someone while driving under the influence can be punished with decades in jail and extremely high fines.

However, you may also face a civil lawsuit. The person you injured may sue you for damages. Damages for a drunk driving accident could total hundreds of thousands of dollars. If you do not have sufficient auto insurance, you could be personally liable for those damages. 

How to Avoid Long-Term Consequences of a DUI in California?

Being charged with driving under the influence is not a conviction. You must plead guilty or the state must prove its case against you for a conviction. You have the right to retain a California DUI criminal defense attorney or fight the DUI charges yourself. 

It is in your best interest to talk to a California DUI lawyer. A DUI lawyer understands California’s drunk driving laws. In addition, an attorney knows what the state must prove to make its case.

Your lawyer investigates the circumstances and facts of the traffic stop and DUI arrest. If law enforcement officers violate your civil rights, your attorney can file a motion to suppress evidence. Without evidence, the prosecutors may not be able to prove their case.

With an attorney’s assistance, you might receive a better plea deal. Your attorney argues the facts of the case to reduce DUI charges and penalties. 

A prosecutor is more likely to work with an attorney than with you. The prosecutor takes advantage of your lack of legal knowledge when negotiating a DUI plea agreement.

If the police arrest you on DUI charges in California, do not talk to the police. You can refuse a roadside breathalyzer and the field sobriety tests without penalty in California. However, you must take a chemical test after a DUI arrest or face enhanced penalties for a DUI conviction.

As soon as possible, contact our California DUI defense lawyer to discuss the best way to fight the drunk driving charges to avoid criminal penalties and long-term consequences of a DUI.

How a DUI Can Affect Immigration Status?

Most DUI offenses in California are misdemeanors. However, aggravating circumstances, a prior criminal history, and other factors could result in felony DUI charges. Under California DUI laws, a drunk driving conviction stays on your criminal record as a “priorable” offense for ten years. Felony DUI convictions always count as a priorable offense, regardless of the date of conviction.

Dealing with DUI charges can be stressful and frightening. However, if you are an illegal resident of the United States or an immigrant with a VISA, a DUI conviction could negatively affect your immigration status. 

The Department of Homeland Security can deport any non-US resident back to their home country and bar them from reentering the United States for a specific period or indefinitely. That includes non-US citizens living and working in this country legally.

Therefore, it is important to understand how a drunk driving conviction could affect your immigration status or result in deportation. 

Foreign Citizen DUI Cases in California 

If law enforcement officers arrest a foreign person for driving under the influence in California, they face the same penalties that a citizen faces for a conviction on the criminal charges. For example, aggravating factors can result in enhanced sentences for criminal convictions of DUI. 

However, undocumented immigrants, permanent residents, and anyone who is not a U.S. citizen must deal with the added complication of what a drunk driving conviction does to the immigration status. 

Are you are a foreign national charged with driving under the influence in California? If so, it is crucial for you to seek advice from an immigration attorney and a California DUI defense lawyer as soon as possible. Potential consequences that you could face include:

Deportation for Undocumented Immigrants 

If you are in the United States illegally, a DUI arrest can lead to deportation. It does not matter whether you are guilty of driving under the influence. You will likely undergo immigration proceedings and deportation, regardless of your guilt or innocence.

ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) may become aware of your arrest for driving under the influence through the DHS Secure Communities Program. If ICE realizes that a California law enforcement agency has custody of you, it could issue an immigration hold.

In some cases, the police officers making the DUI arrest may become aware that you are in the country illegally. If so, they could inform ICE of your arrest. Having a fake driver’s license or documentation does not fool law enforcement officers for very long. 

If ICE officials do not discover you after a DUI arrest, you might not want to fight the DUI charges for fear of being discovered. However, having a criminal record could put you higher on the ICE radar. Talk to a California DUI defense lawyer about potential DUI defenses that could prevent you from having a criminal record. 

Your Visa May Be Revoked for a DUI Arrest in California 

If you are in the United States legally, you could still face deportation for a DUI arrest. The United States Department of State could revoke your visa for being arrested for drunk driving. 

The revocation of your visa could occur before you have a chance to defend yourself against the DUI charges. It is essential to understand that the DOS can revoke your visa merely on the grounds you were arrested for drunk driving. It does not need to wait until you are found guilty of DUI charges to revoke your visa. 

The process may be quick because law enforcement agencies share information about arrest records and bench warrants. You could receive the notice of visa revocation shortly after being arrested for driving under the influence. The notice may come before our DMV administrative hearing or DUI pre-trial hearing. 

Visa revocations could impact all visa holders and their dependents, including students, highly skilled workers, and visitors. Once the government revokes your visa, you cannot reenter the United States. If you remain in the country, you are doing so illegally.

You must appear before the US consular officer to re-establish your eligibility for a visa. There are no guarantees that you will be granted another visa to reenter the United States after the government revokes your visa for a DUI arrest or conviction. 

Deportation for Being Charged with DUI with Aggravating Factors

Green card holders (permanent residents) and other legal non-citizens generally do not need to worry about being deported if they are charged with or convicted of driving under the influence. Traditionally, a DUI conviction was not grounds for deportation for these individuals. 

The United States Supreme Court ruled that driving under the influence was not a violent crime, so it was not an aggravated felony. Aggravated felonies are generally grounds for deportation. However, there are exceptions.

If you are arrested for driving under the influence with aggravated circumstances, you could face deportation or problems with your immigration status. In addition, if you leave the country, you could be barred from reentering.

Examples of aggravating factors that could increase a DUI to a deportable offense for some legal aliens include:

  • Having a child in the vehicle, resulting in child endangerment charges
  • Being arrested for drunk driving while driving on a suspended driver’s license
  • Having multiple DUI offenses or being listed as a habitual traffic offender 
  • Being arrested for drunk driving after committing other crimes
  • Driving under the influence of a controlled substance
  • Causing injury or death because of a DUI accident

In addition to worrying about being deported, a person with a green card must also worry whether a DUI can prevent them from becoming a US citizen. There is a test of good moral character during the examination process for citizenship. 

A crime involving moral turpitude within five years of the citizenship application could complicate the matter. Some of the aggravating factors associated with drunk driving could be interpreted as a crime of moral turpitude. 

Fighting a DUI can prevent a criminal record, making passing the good moral character test easier. Therefore, if you intend to apply for citizenship, it is vital that you seek legal advice from your immigration lawyer and a skilled California DUI defense lawyer. 

What Should I Do if I Am Arrested for DUI in California, and I Am Not an Untied States Citizen?

Seek legal advice from a California DUI attorney and immigration lawyer immediately. Each DUI case involving a no-citizen is unique. Therefore, the circumstances of your DUI case combined with the unique circumstances of your immigration status mean that each case must be evaluated individually.

Even though some individuals could be deported merely by being arrested for DUI, it does not mean you should not prepare to fight DUI charges aggressively. 

You are innocent until proven guilty. The prosecutor has the burden of proving beyond a reasonable doubt that the charges against you are true. That level of proof is a high standard in a criminal court proceeding.

There are many ways to beat DUI charges in California. Numerous defense strategies attack drunk driving charges from various positions. An experienced California DUI attorney investigates the circumstances surrounding the DUI stop and the arrest for driving under the influence. 

The attorney’s investigation may lead to flaws regarding procedure or evidence in the case. Those flaws may give rise to one or more DUI defenses.

Potential DUI Defenses That Could Result in Dismissal or Reduced Charges

Some of the most common DUI defenses that can result in a DUI dismissal or reduction of charges include:

Problems with Chemical Tests for BAC Levels

Breathalyzer tests measure the amount of blood alcohol on your breath. However, those results could be inaccurate for many reasons. Common causes of inaccurate breathalyzer results include, but are not limited to:

  • Differences in a person’s individual partition ratio
  • Malfunctioning equipment
  • Incorrect calibration of the equipment
  • Lack of maintenance or property training
  • Certain medical conditions, including diabetes, GERD, hiatal hernia, and acid reflux
  • Ketosis from low-carb diets
  • Mouth alcohol because of dentures, using breath spray, burping, using an asthma inhaler, etc.

Blood and urine tests may also be incorrect and flawed. For example, fermented blood can cause BAC results to be inaccurate. Incorrectly handling the samples can cause contamination. Improper storage of samples can also result in inaccurate results. 

Your DUI defense lawyer may attack the results of a chemical test to have your charges dismissed or reduced.

Lack of Probable Cause for a DUI Stop or Arrest

Police officers must have probable cause or reasonable suspicion to make a DUI stop or arrest. Your attorney may file a motion to suppress evidence because of an illegal search. A lack of probable cause could result in the DUI charges being dismissed.

Rising Blood Alcohol Levels

The alcohol in your system continues to increase for some time after you consume your last alcoholic beverage. Depending on the person, it could take up to three hours after consuming alcohol for the body to absorb the alcohol fully. 

If the police officer waits too long to perform a chemical test, your BAC could be much higher than it was at the time of your arrest. 

In some cases, you might have had a BAC level below the legal limit when the police officer stopped you for suspicion of drunk driving. So instead of being impaired by alcohol, you might have just been distracted or be a poor driver. 

Health Conditions That Mimic Intoxication 

Some medical conditions can make someone appear intoxicated when they have not had any alcohol to drink. For example, a diabetic sugar low can cause slurred speech, trouble walking, and inability to follow instructions. Brain damage and epilepsy could cause someone to appear drunk. 

Allergies could cause red or blurry eyes. Slurred speech may also be caused by fatigue and drowsiness from working a double shift. Alcohol on your breath may be from using an OTC medication or cough drops. 

Explore All Potential DUI Defenses with a California DUI Defense Lawyer

The above DUI defenses are just a few of the defense strategies that a lawyer might use to defend you against DUI charges. However, many more potential defenses could apply in your case. Explore all of the ways you could beat DUI charges in California by meeting with an attorney as soon as possible after a drunk driving arrest.

A prosecutor or police officer will not tell you that the evidence against you is weak. They will not tell you that you have one or more defenses what could result in the court dismissing the DUI charges. Only a skilled DUI attorney can do that for you.