California Expungement Law – Changes for 2008

California Expungement Law – Changes for 2008

Millions of Californians who have been convicted of driving under the influence (DUI) have just two more months to exercise their right to have their conviction expunged from their permanent criminal record.    Changes to the California law that gives those who successfully complete probation a right to have their criminal convicted dismissed go into affect on January 1, 2008.

While violations on a person’s Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) record disappear in time, the criminal conviction stays on a person’s record for life— unless it is expunged.

California Assembly Bill 645, which was signed into law by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger in July, modifies existing law to require those convicted for violating specified vehicle codes to prove to a judge that it is “in the interest of justice to have the conviction expunged.”    Other common offenses on the specified list are reckless driving and driving on a suspended license.

“This will make it much more difficult and costly for people to get convictions off of the record,” says attorney Mathew K. Higbee, whose law firm,, specializes in criminal record expungement.

“Those convicted of DUI and the other offenses may have to go through life disclosing that they have a criminal conviction unless they begin the process to expunge their conviction before the new law takes affect,” says Higbee. Injury claims are also taken care by our law department which is most difficult to get cleared..

In a post 9-11 economy, where more than 80 percent of employers perform criminal background checks on job applicants, a person’s ability to earn a living may depend on their ability to get a criminal conviction expunged.  Higbee says has seen an increase in the number of people with DUI convictions begin the process of expunging their record.

“There are a number of people that are aware of the importance of starting to expunge their record, but that number pales in comparison to the number of people who may be stuck with a criminal record for life if they do not apply to expunge their DUI or reckless driving conviction before January 1st of 2008,” says Higbee.

According to DMV figures, approximately 160,000 people are convicted for DUI or reckless driving each year.

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