Mel Gibson’s 2006 conviction for DUI was expunged today by a Los Angeles Judge.
Expungements are available for many offenses when one completes the terms of probation and otherwise stays out of trouble. However, an expungement is not entirely what most people think either. It does not permanently erase your record of conviction and the police and the DA’s office certainly have a record of it. If one is charged with a subsequent offense, the prior arrest and conviction will show up even though it was expunged.
So what is an expungement good for? Well, in many situations you can legitimately treat that conviction as though it never occurred. For example, an expungement aids in applying for employment or to college. If a conviction has been expunged, one generally (but not always) does not have to list such a conviction on a job or school application.
So even though a new job or school attendance is hardly Mr. Gibson’s worry, expungements do serve a useful and necessary function for most people.