In today’s information age, a DUI arrest in the San Francisco Bay Area can haunt you for years. I spoke to a man—we will call him “Bill”—who told me a story of how he got his DUI in San Francisco. The San Francisco Police Department did not arrest him for his DUI; his arrest was at the hands of the CHP (California Highway Patrol). He got his DUI on Highway 101, but it could have been anywhere: Highway 80, Highway 580, or even Highway 280.
Bill’s problem was that the DUI that he got in San Francisco some years back now gave him a Criminal Record. That’s right, a DUI is a charge that gives you a Criminal Record that any prospective employer can find and use to deny you a job that you are completely qualified for. Because DUIs are so politically charged in the San Francisco Bay Area, an arrest can haunt you forever! But it doesn’t have to be that way. If you take action and have your DUI expunged, you can put an emotionally and financially difficult time behind you—permanently.
I told Bill that under California law his misdemeanor DUI conviction can be expunged, as long as Bill successfully completes the terms of his probation, which were imposed by the San Francisco Superior Court when he went to court for his DUI. If Bill had not been placed on probation for his DUI conviction, his record could be expunged one year after the date that he plead guilty or “no contest” to his DUI. Although successfully completing probation is always a requirement, San Francisco Superior Court does have broad discretion when it comes to expungement.
The moral of the story is that if, like Bill, you have a DUI conviction in the San Francisco Bay Area, your DUI means that you have a permanent criminal record. That is, unless you take action. If you don’t seek expungement, any employer can treat you as a criminal. A charge or conviction of DUI in California, and especially in the San Francisco Bay Area, is a serious threat to the quality of your life and must be treated seriously.
Tomorrow I will tell you what could be a happy ending to Bill’s DUI arrest in San Francisco.
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