How to Dismiss a DUI in San Diego County, California

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When you drive under the influence, the consequences of that mistake can persist for years. A DUI can impact your life long after you pay your fine or spend time in jail. Even if you haven’t had a drink in years, you may not be able to get the job or housing you want because of your conviction. Does this seem fair to you? If it doesn’t, then we’ll explain how to get your DUI conviction dismissed. 

California law has an option called a dismissal for removing a DUI from your record. Since a DUI on your criminal record has consequences, courts sometimes allow you to erase the DUI after a certain time. Once you dismiss a DUI in California, you don’t have to disclose it when you apply for most jobs or when you apply for housing rentals.

If this sounds like a great option for clearing your record, call the Law Offices of Kerry L. Armstrong, APLC, to see if a dismissal is feasible for you. Please keep reading if you would like to know more about DUI dismissals in California before contacting our attorneys.

Who Can Seek a Dismissal?

Under California law, you are eligible for a dismissal once you complete probation for your offense if you:

  • Did not serve time in state prison, or
  • Served time in state prison, but your sentence was a county jail (also known as “local prison”) sentence under the 2011 prison realignment.

For some criminal offenses, a judge might allow you to end probation and seek a dismissal early. However, judges do not usually allow early dismissals for DUI offenders except under exceptional circumstances.

How Does a Dismissal Work?

Once your probation successfully ends, you can request a dismissal of your case. In the dismissal process, the court allows you to:

  • Withdraw your guilty or no contest plea, or 
  • Set aside a guilty verdict and enter a plea of not guilty.

After the dismissal of your DUI conviction, the court dismisses the conviction against you for most purposes. For instance, a landlord running a background check would not see a record of a dismissed DUI and cannot hold your prior conviction against you.

Can A Dismissed Offense Be Used Against You?

A dismissed offense frees you to pursue career and housing options not available to someone with a DUI conviction. However, your DUI conviction can still be used against you in these circumstances:

  • When seeking appointment or election to public office,
  • For licensure by a state or local agency,
  • For contracting with the California State Lottery Commission,
  • To lawfully possess a firearm (if you DUI was a felony), and
  • For reinstating a suspended driver license.

Your dismissed offense will also count as a prior if you face another criminal conviction. 

While a dismissed offense can still impact you in some ways, you will enjoy greater freedom overall.

Once you complete probation (or desire to get off of probation early), it is a good idea to contact a criminal defense attorney in San Diego County to get your DUI dismissed. 

Do You Need Help with a DUI Dismissal in California?

A DUI conviction is too damaging to your future to leave it on your record. If you would like your DUI dismissed, the San Diego County criminal defense lawyers at the Law Offices of Kerry L. Armstrong, APLC, can help. Our San Diego County criminal defense lawyers have experience helping clients dismissing their DUI convictions. 

We will handle your case with discretion and complete confidentiality. Contact our office to schedule an initial consultation with a DUI attorney. 

Author Photo

Kerry L. Armstrong


Attorney Kerry Armstrong opened up his law firm in June 2007. Mr. Armstrong attended Thomas Jefferson School of Law, San Diego, California, and received his B.S. from Middle Tennessee State University. Kerry L. Armstrong became certified by the State Bar of California’s Board of Legal Specialization for criminal law in August 2020, making him one of the few criminal defense attorneys with a criminal law legal specialization certificate in San Diego County.  Between 2014 – 2019, Mr. Armstrong was selected for inclusion in the California Super Lawyers list, an honor only awarded to 5% of the nation’s attorneys.

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