Post Conviction Relief
It is a common misperception by California drivers convicted of driving under the influence that once an offense is on a driver's record, nothing can be done about it. However, some convictions can be removed from an individual's criminal record through a process known as post-conviction relief. The Law Office of Robert Tayac has years of experience with post-conviction relief and has provided favorable assistance to countless numbers of California drivers convicted of DUI.
Types of Convictions
Whether or not post conviction relief is an option depends on the type of conviction and the punishment that the individual was sentenced to. In California, criminal offenses are categorized in one of three ways:
- Felonies: Punishable by a year or more in state prison.
- Misdemeanors: Punishable by up to a year in county jail.
- “Wobblers”: Offenses that can be charged as either a felony or a misdemeanor, but that are typically pursued in court as felonies.
Qualifications for Post Conviction Relief
If the driver is still on probation for the California DUI offense, post-conviction relief is typically not an option. However, in some cases, a knowledgeable DUI defense attorney experienced in post-conviction relief may be able to petition the court to end the individual’s probation early so that the individual can explore potential legal relief alternatives.
Before the process of post-conviction relief can begin, the court must establish that the release of probation is warranted by the driver's good conduct and reform. The court must also establish whether or not the interests of justice would still be served if the individual’s probation was terminated early. The driver's attorney must then request a modification of probation from the court in which the original conviction took place. Before the court can even consider granting early termination of probation, all fines and restitution must be paid in full by the individual.
Reduction of Charges
Once a driver's probation has been terminated, the criminal defense attorney is eligible to request a reduction of charges. The only felonies eligible for reduction are "wobblers". If the court chooses to approve the attorney’s request, the conviction will then be treated as a misdemeanor for purposes of post conviction relief. However, the original charge will still be considered a felony in any subsequent criminal action, meaning if the individual is arrested for a similar crime in the future, the punishment incurred by a subsequent crime will be heightened.
The State of California also allows for expungement of misdemeanors and felonies under certain circumstances. The possibility for expungement depends on whether the original crime was committed by a juvenile or an adult, whether the conviction was for a misdemeanor or a felony, whether probation was granted, and whether a term in state prison was mandated.
Clearing criminal records can help to open doors to employment, professional licenses, and housing which previous convictions may have limited. A California criminal defense attorney skilled at obtaining post-conviction relief can review each individual conviction to establish whether a reduction of charges or expungement is possible.