A Pennsylvania DUI lawyer can assist with an expungement, which is the legal process of deleting or destroying a criminal charge from files, computers and other public records of the crime. Expungement not only seals the arrest and conviction records from the public but also allows a person to state that they have never been convicted of a DUI on job applications.
In other words, expungement removes the arrest from a criminal background check. A DUI in Pennsylvania results in two records: One file goes to the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) and the other record goes to the criminal courts.
The DMV record not only helps calculate premium amounts but also may result in accumulation of points for a driver’s license, sometimes resulting in their suspension or loss. Even though it is impossible to expunge a DUI record from the DMV, Pennsylvania law allows expungement at the court level, which will seal the record from the Pennsylvania state police department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).
Why Get an Expungement?
There are many reasons to seek a DUI expungement: to make finding employment easier, to ensure professional licenses are not denied, to guarantee no obstacles exist for renting an apartment or house. After a record is expunged, people will no longer be able to access the DUI charge on a criminal record. Though the police in Pennsylvania will still maintain a record on file, it will only be used for investigative purposes.
Who Qualifies for Expungement?
For some people, Pennsylvania offers the Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (ARD) program, which attempts to offer rehabilitative services instead of punishments to drivers under the influence. The only people eligible for Pennsylvania’s ARD program are those first-time offenders with minor previous criminal charges (if any).
The purpose of the ARD program is to provide low-risk individuals with the opportunity to avoid becoming repeat offenders and remedy their situation. For those individuals allowed into the ARD program, there are no judicial proceedings, which saves time and money for both the person and the state of Pennsylvania.
How to Get an Expungement
After participating in the ARD program, it is fairly easy to receive an expungement. The program, which can last up to two years, involves a period of supervision, community service, and various fees. After completing the ARD program, the steps include:
Completion of a criminal history request form
Obtaining proof of completion of the ARD program
Petitioning for expungement through the court clerk
Submission of a notarized affidavit that all information presented was accurate and honest
After all the paperwork has been filed with the court, the relevant district attorney has 30 days to file an objection. If the district attorney does not file an objection, the DUI charge is expunged.
A DUI lawyer can help with this entire process based on their familiarity with the court system. From knowing when to file a form to understanding that two separate records exist, an experienced attorney knows more about the ins-and-outs of the entire expungement process. Even if not offered the chance to participate in the ARD program, an attorney can assist with this much more difficult and arduous process. In either case, prioritize your future and consult with a DUI lawyer to make sure a small problem does not turn into a bigger one.
Call us for more information from Kim A. Bodnar, Attorney at Law or to schedule a consultation in our office in Pittsburgh.
NOTE: This is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice.
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