Successful completion of ARD generally allows a person to have the charges dismissed and expunged if the appropriate paperwork is filed with the court. In DUI cases, the criminal record can be expunged but a notation of participation in the ARD program does remain on a person's Pennsylvania driving record for at least the next 10 years.
ARD Counts as Prior Offense of DUI
Participation in the ARD program counts as a "prior offense" of DUI in Pennsylvania. Therefore, if a person violates the Pennsylvania DUI law within 10 years of the date of ARD acceptance for a prior DUI, the new offense would be considered a second offense and thereby subject the person to substantially increased mandatory minimum sentences. In order to easily track ARD participation as a prior offense, the notation remains on the driving record for 10 years.
After 10 years PennDOT May Expunge ARD-DUI Notation
Pursuant to section 1543 of the Vehicle Code, PennDOT is required to expunge the ARD-DUI notation from a driving record after 10 years from the date that PennDOT was notified of ARD participation UNLESS one of two exceptions are applicable. The first exception to expungement is that PennDOT is not required to expunge the driving record if the person had a commercial driver's license (CDL) at the time the person was charged with the DUI. The second exception to expungement is if the person became a "habitual offender" during the 10 year period of time. A "habitual offender" is defined under section 1542 of the Vehicle Code as being a person that is convicted of three major violations within a five year period of time. Unless the exceptions apply, PennDOT is required to expunge the driving record on their own initiative. While expungement of the criminal record requires a person to file an expungement petition with the court, expungement of the driving record is required to be done PennDOT without requiring a person to file another expungement petition with the court.