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I am a Notary and am renewing my term. In 1981, I got a DUI

Customer Question

I am a Notary and am renewing my term. In 1981, I got a DUI and had a very small amount of cocaine on me. I satisfied all of the terms of my conviction and my record was expunged sometime in 1989. In the Appointment and Qualifications section of the Notary Public Handbook, it says that I must include "convictions that have een dismissed under Penal Code Section 1203.4 or 1204.a". The problem is I have never stated so on my previous Applications for renewing my Notary terms because I was under the impression that "expunged" meant my arrest record was annulled and/or destroyed. Am I in trouble?
Submitted: 7 years ago.
Category: Criminal Law
Expert:  LawHelpNow replied 7 years ago.

Hello and thanks so much for choosing this forum to pose your important legal question. I will do my best to give you some honest and accurate guidance as I answer your question.


  1. I am a licensed attorney with criminal and administrative law experience including professional licensure and discipline. I will be glad to try and answer your question. I hope that the following information will be helpful to you, but please just write back if you have any follow-up questions or need clarification on anything after reviewing the following information.
  2. "Am I in trouble?" Truthfully, no one other than the Office of the California Secretary of State can definitely answer that question. However, here is what I can share with you based on some years of experience. First and foremost, these regulatory agencies want to see forthrightness and full disclosure. In other words, the worst thing you can do is to continue to conceal information once you have become aware of the requirement.
  3. It sounds like you have made an understandable and common error here. In California, the remedy of expungement does not actually erase one's criminal record. Rather, the finding of guilt is changed to a dismissal of the case. You have some positive factors on your side, however, One of the biggest is the fact that nearly 30 years have elapsed since your arrest and over 20 years since the expungement of your conviction.
  4. I would suggest you make a full disclosure, explain your misunderstanding and lack of intent to deceive, and await a determination. Should the ruling be adverse, you still have a right to appeal pursuant to the administrative hearing process. In that event, you would definitely want to confer with legal counsel. Even prior to submitting renewal application, it would still be prudent to discuss the particulars of your situation with a local attorney.


I hope that this information has been helpful to you. If we can be of any further assistance please free to use our service again. Best wishes for a successful outcome.


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The information provided is general in nature only and should not be construed as legal advice. By using this forum, you acknowledge that no attorney-client relationship has been created between you and Benjamin M. Burt, Jr., Esq. You should always consult with a lawyer in your state.

Edited by Benjamin M. Burt, Jr., Esq. on 4/2/2010 at 12:35 AM EST