How Can I Remove a DUI from Criminal Record in Pennsylvania?
Anyone with a DUI conviction who’s been refused a job, housing option, or professional license knows the pain of having a DUI offense on a criminal record. Fortunately, Pennsylvania allows individuals to erase parts of their criminal record in a process known as expungement. Expungement applies to minor offenses, include non-convictions—such as verdicts of not-guilty, dismissals, and withdrawal of charges—convictions, such as summary offenses, and certain plea bargains, including Probation Without Verdict and Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition.
For DUI offenses, certain convictions can be automatically expunged ten years after the original conviction following successful completion of an Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (ARD) program, provided that no subsequent conviction occurs within 10 years, and the conviction relates to a first-time DUI offense in which no other person was seriously injured or killed, and no passenger in the offender’s vehicle was under 14 years of age at the time of the offense.
If you’re seeking to remove a first-time DUI from your criminal record, the most straightforward option is to enroll in an ARD program at the time of your hearing. Successful completion of an ARD program can result in the automatic removal of your criminal record after 10 years.
5 Steps to Getting Your Record Removed Through The ARD Program
Determine Whether ARD Is Right For You — Speaking with an experienced Pittsburgh DUI lawyer can help you to determine whether seeking admission into the ARD program is a smart first step. In many cases, agreeing to take part in the ARD program as part of a plea bargain package is beneficial. However, depending on the strength of the prosecutor’s case and the circumstances of your arrest, it may make more sense to fight your charges. Consulting with a skilled Pittsburgh DUI lawyer can help you to determine whether the ARD program is the best option for you.
Undertake a Full Drug and Alcohol Assessment — A full drug and alcohol assessment may be required if your BAC was over .16, or there are indications that you may need evaluation for counseling or treatment. Undertaking a full drug and alcohol assessment may be required before you are eligible to take part in the ARD program.
Participate in the ARD Program — Participation in the ARD program can involve probation supervision; drug or substance use evaluation, treatment, and counseling; license suspension; and restitution to those who faced loss as a result of your DUI offense. Participation in the ARD program could take a period of months or years, depending on the circumstances of your case.
Pay Fees and Costs of Program — Fees associated with the ARD program can include Alcohol Highway Safety School fees and evaluation and treatment costs. Payment of fees and costs may be necessary to meet court-ordered requirements.
File a Motion of Expungement in the Department of Court Records, If Necessary — In Allgeheny County, a criminal record can only be expunged after a motion for expungement is brought to the Department of Court Records Criminal Division and granted by an order of court from the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County. For first-time offenders and participants in the ARD program after 1990, this happens automatically after 10 years; for those who participated in the program before 1990, however, an offender must file a motion to expunge his or her DUI criminal record.
How Worgul, Sarna & Ness, Criminal Defense Attorneys, LLC Can Help You
If you’re facing a DUI charge and want to expunge it from your criminal record, contact one of our experienced DUI lawyers for a free, initial consultation. We can help you to determine whether participating in the ARD program is the best option for you. To take the first step in removing a DUI offense from your criminal record, call us at (412) 281-2146 today.