Driving under the influence (DUI) convictions in Pennsylvania come with hefty penalties, including thousands of dollars in fines and license suspension. You may have lost your job or suffered a loss of reputation because of a DUI conviction. Unfortunately, a DUI could haunt you for life – but not always. In some cases, the Pennsylvania courts will expunge a DUI from the offender’s record. Expungement seals the arrest and conviction records from the state and public, providing a fresh start. With an expunged record, the individual can truthfully state that he/she has never been convicted of a DUI on job applications. Here’s what to know about this process.
Who is Eligible for DUI Expungement?
Pennsylvania offers an Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (ARD) program, which aims to rehabilitate instead of punish the offender in DUI cases. In ARD cases, there are no trials or court proceedings. Instead, there is a quick disposition of charges to save time and money. The only defendants eligible for the ARD program are first-time offenders with minor criminal charges who would benefit more from treatment than punishment. The ARD program is meant to give people the opportunity to reverse their situations and not become repeat offenders.
An offender can only get a DUI record expunged in Pennsylvania if the courts placed him or her in the ARD program instead of giving a criminal conviction. The ARD program only applies to misdemeanor offenses with an arrest or charge but no conviction. The Pennsylvania Code Rule 320 states that upon successful completion of the ARD program, the courts shall expunge the defendant’s arrest and charge records. The only time expungement would not occur after ADR is if the Commonwealth gives reasons to retain the arrest record.
Note that a DUI in Pennsylvania comes with two different records: one with the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) and one with the criminal courts. Car insurance companies will look at your record with the DMV to decide your premium amounts. A DUI on your DMV record could also result in the suspension or loss of your driver’s license, due to an accumulation of points on your license. Your DMV record can follow you from state to state. It is not possible to expunge a DUI record from the DMV. Pennsylvania laws only allow expungement at the court level, which will seal the record at the state police department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).
How to Get Your Record Expunged
As an ARD program participant, it’s relatively easy to get the courts to expunge your record. The courts will take care of expungement after you complete the program, as long as you petition the court to dismiss the charges against you. The program involves a period of supervision, community service, and costs and assessment fees. You will not have to pay court costs. The maximum time in the ARD program is two years. Once you complete the program, visit your county criminal court to request a petition for record expungement.
If you’re unsure whether you’re eligible for DUI record expungement in Pennsylvania, first check with your county’s criminal court. The courts can verify your eligibility and give you the proper paperwork to begin the expungement process. Never hesitate to speak to a DUI defense attorney in your area about your potential expungement. An attorney can make the entire process simpler for you.
How a DUI Expungement Works
While being an ARD program participant may make it easier to get a DUI expungement, you still need to completely understand the process. If you have not done so already, you should speak to a DUI expungement attorney in Pennsylvania about your case as soon as possible to at least get an idea of how this process works. While you may be able to handle the expungement process yourself, an attorney with extensive experience handling these cases will have an even easier time walking you through the steps.
- Obtain a criminal history request form.
- Obtain proof of your completion of the ARD program.
Only after you have completed the ARD program will you be eligible for an easier process of DUI expungement in Pennsylvania.
- After you have determined your eligibility for a DUI expungement in Pennsylvania, you will need to file a petition with the county court along with all of the necessary paperwork.
- Your petition will need to be approved by a judge, and a court order must be obtained that orders the governmental agencies to expunge their records of your DUI.
- After you submit your petition, the District Attorney that handled your case has 30 days to file an objection. If they do not file any objections, your expungement will be completed.
While that may seem like easy steps, the paperwork involved can be time-consuming, confusing, and tedious. Everything you submit to a court must follow Pennsylvania rules and be submitted with proper fees and costs.
If you did not participate in the ARD program in Pennsylvania, this means that your DUI was a more serious charge, and getting the conviction expunged is going to be much more difficult. When we turn to Pennsylvania law 18 Pa. C. S. § 9122, we can see that a criminal record in this state may be expunged if:
- The person has reached the age of 70 and has been free of arrest or prosecution for ten years since the completion of probation, parole, or prison sentence.
- The person has been deceased for three years.
- The individual petitions the court for an expungement of a “summary offense” and has been free of arrest or prosecution for five years after the conviction of the summary offense. A DUI can only be a summary offense if it is a first-time DUI and was labeled as a “general” DUI (BAC of .08 to .099).
Contact Lee Ciccarelli for help with your case
If you or somebody you love has a DUI on their driving record, please know that it does not have to stay there forever. Yes, you may have been charged with and convicted of driving under the influence, but that does not mean you should have to bear the weight of this conviction for the rest of your life. Pennsylvania criminal records are public information, which means anybody has access to this information, and it can cause embarrassing employment situations.
After record expungement, the public will no longer be able to see record of your DUI. The Pennsylvania State Police will still keep a copy of your record on file, but only for investigative purposes. They cannot use the record against you in a subsequent offense or make it available to employers. For more information about DUI record expungement, talk to our experienced DUI defense attorneys.
At the Ciccarelli Law Offices, we are ready to help you get this DUI expunged from your record. You can contact our Pennsylvania DUI expungement attorneys for a free consultation of your case by clicking here or by calling 215-228-0100.