It is common for a drunk driving arrest to begin with some sort of traffic incident. Maybe you’re on your way home from a work event and are stopped for speeding. Or perhaps you were at a backyard BBQ with friends and then rolled through a stop sign when you left. Regardless of the precipitating incident, if you were drinking and driving and pulled over for a minor traffic violation, you may also have been arrested for drunk driving.
In Pennsylvania, DUI stands for driving under the influence. Although DUI typically indicates alcohol impairment, it can also include impairment from drugs. If you were arrested and subsequently convicted in Pennsylvania for a DUI, you may be suffering from the consequences of a DUI on your record. To reduce the impact of a DUI conviction, you can obtain the services of an experienced attorney to have your DUI conviction expunged.
If you’d like to speak with an attorney about a DUI expungement in Pennsylvania, call us to schedule an initial consultation.
How a DUI Expungement Works
An expungement is a way of legally destroying, obliterating or striking out records or information in files, computers and other depositories relating to criminal charges. Simply put, the DUI conviction is deleted or erased.
There are many reasons to seek a DUI expungement. Getting a job could be more difficult. Some professional licenses can be denied. Renting a house or apartment can become impossible. In some instances, a DUI record is automatically expunged.
According to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, it will automatically expunge Accelerated Rehabilitation Disposition (ARD) records after 10 years “providing a person’s operating privileges were not revoked as a habitual offender and/or the person was not a commercial driver at the time of the violation.” ARD is a program for first DUI convictions in which the punishment is lessened slightly in exchange for an increase in supervision.
- For those who participated in ARD, an expungement is fairly straightforward. The steps include:
- Complete a criminal history request form
- Obtain proof of completion of the ARD program
- Request a petition or motion for expungement through the clerk of courts
- Submit a notarized affidavit that you are providing accurate information to the court
When the paperwork has been filed, the district attorney who handled your case will have 30 days to file an objection. If there is no objection, your expungement is completed.
If you did not participate in the ARD program, getting a DUI expunged in Pennsylvania is much more difficult in comparison to other states. Pennsylvania law 18 Pa. C. S. § 9122 states that a criminal record may be expunged if:
- The individual is at least 70 years old and has been free of arrest or prosecution for 10 years since the completion of probation supervision
- The individual has been deceased for three years
- The individual petitions the court for the expungement of a “summary offense” and has been free of arrest or prosecution for five years following the conviction for the prior offense
A summary offense is any offense that is punishable by a fine of up to $300 or a maximum of 90 days in jail. Examples of a summary offense include disorderly conduct, obstructing the highway, harassment, criminal mischief, underage drinking, dog laws and putting nails or other hard substances on utility poles. Many game and wildlife violations are summary offenses as well.
A DUI can be a summary offense if it is a General impairment DUI (.08 percent to .099 percent blood alcohol concentration) and is a first offense.
Legal Help for Expungement Is Available
Pennsylvania takes DUIs very seriously, and has structured consequences accordingly. If you can wait 10 years, the DUI expungement after ARD program completion is automatic. If you require help sooner than that, or if you did not go through the ARD program, a skilled and experienced DUI defense lawyer may be your best option.
Contact us to set up a consultation with a Pennsylvania drunk driving lawyer who can work to have your DUI record expunged.