A person who completes the terms of conditions of Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (ARD) following an arrest and charge for driving under the influence of alcohol or controlled substances (DUI) in Pennsylvania is eligible to have the DUI arrest and charge expunged from his or her criminal records.
Under Pennsylvania law, the term expunge means (1) to remove information so that there is no trace or indication that such information existed; (2) to eliminate all identifiers which may be used to trace the identity of an individual, allowing remaining data to be used for statistical purposes; or (3) maintenance of certain information when an individual has successfully completed the conditions of any pre-trial or post-trial diversion or probation program. 18 P.S. § 9102.
In other words, to expunge means to destroy all criminal history records. ARD is a diversion program that qualifies for expungement.
ACCELERATED REHABILITATIVE DISPOSITION (ARD)
An individual who is charged with violating 75 P.S. § 3802 (driving under the influence of alcohol or controlled substance) may be considered by the district attorney’s office for participation in the Pennsylvania ARD program An individual will not qualify for ARD if the individual has been found guilty of or accepted ARD for a DUI within ten years of the date of the current DUI, an accident occurred in connection with the DUI and a person was killed or suffered serious bodily injury as a result of the accident, or there was a passenger under 14 years of age in the vehicle.
If an individual is accepted into an ARD program and the individual completes all the terms and conditions, then the individual can have the charges expunged under Rule 320 of the Pennsylvania Rules of Criminal Procedure.
ARD TERMS AND CONDITIONS
Generally, a person who is accepted into the ARD program is assigned terms and conditions by the Court. Terms and conditions include a Court Reporting Network (CRN) drug and alcohol evaluation, drug and alcohol assessment, alcohol highway safety school, community service, fines and penalties, and probation. When an individual completes the terms and conditions, he or she will receive an ARD completion letter. .
EXPUNGEMENT AFTER ARD COMPLETION
After an individual receives an ARD completion letter, the individual is eligible to have the criminal history record information expunged. The individual must formally ask the Court for an Order for Expungement through a special procedure. Individuals can try to do this on their own; however, it is recommended that the individual hire an attorney with experience in expungement matters.
The Pennsylvania criminal rules of procedure govern the process for obtaining an Expungement Order. To begin, the individual must file a Petition for Expungement with the clerk of courts. The Petition must include:
- the petitioner’s name, address, date of birth, and social security number;
- the name and address of the judge assigned to the case;
- the name and mailing address of the affiant as shown on the complaint;
- the docket number;
- the offense tracking number (OTN);
- the date on the complaint or the date of arrest;
- the criminal justice agency that made the arrest;
- the specific charges to be expunged;
- the disposition and whether fines, penalties and restitution have been paid;
- the reason(s) for expungement; and
- a verification by the petitioner that facts set forth in the petition are true and correct to the best of the petitioner’s personal knowledge or information and belief.
When the Petition is file, a proposed Expungement Order must be included. The Expungement Order must include similar information included in the Petition, but the Order must clearly indicate which criminal justice agencies should be served with the Order. This is important because various criminal justice agencies will have information concerning the arrest and the charges and each agency must be specifically directed to expunge its records. The clerk of courts will give the Petition and Proposed Order to the assigned Judge who will determine whether to issue an Expungement Order.
When an expungement is complete and the agencies are served with the Expungement Order, each agency will expunge its records and will issue a confirmation letter that the records are erased or destroyed. However, all criminal records are not erased entirely. There are a few, very limited scenarios in which criminal records may be used. The District Attorney’s office and the central repository may maintain a list of the names and other criminal history record information of persons whose records are required to be expunged. This information is not available to the general public and it is only to be used for the purposes of determining subsequent eligibility for an ARD program, identifying individuals in subsequent criminal investigations or determining the grading of subsequent offenses. Otherwise, your expunged criminal history will not be available.
EFFECTS OF EXPUNGED RECORDS (18 P.S. § 9122.5)
Except if requested or required by a criminal justice agency, or if disclosure to non-criminal justice agencies is authorized or required, or if Federal law requires the consideration of an applicant’s criminal history for purposes of employment, an individual may not be required or requested to disclose information about the individual’s criminal history record that has been expunged. In other words, unless an exception applies, an individual may respond to a request for criminal information that the offense did not occur.
EXPERIENCED EXPUNGEMENT ATTORNEYS – THE MARTIN LAW FIRM, P.C.
The Martin Law Firm, P.C. has helped individuals with the expungement process for over 20 years. We provide efficient, cost-effective services. We have office procedures to ensure that each criminal justice agency is served with an Expungement Order and that each agency confirms that its records are destroyed. We handle expungements on a fixed fee basis so that you know exactly how much it will cost for the expungement. Call us today at 215-646-3980.