Why do charges appear on a background search after I completed ARD?
Expungement Is NOT Automatic
Successful completion of ARD gives a person the ABILITY to have charges dismissed and expunged. People assume that ARD automatically results in the expungement of charges. It does NOT. Except for a few limited charges, successful completion of ARD gives a person the ability to file paperwork to have the charges dismissed AND then expunged. In order to obtain an expungement of charges, a person must go through the expungement process by filing the appropriate paperwork with the Clerk of Courts. If the person does not file the required paperwork, the charges remain pending and can appear on criminal background searches. It is only through the expungement process that charge or case information is removed from the government databases.
Most DUI defense attorneys take care of the required paperwork for their clients, and attorneys provide copies of the documentation to the clients. Clients should request copies to ensure that the process is being completed. Some attorneys lie to clients, tell them that the paperwork will be filed or was filed, and the paperwork is never filed. By getting a copy that has a time-stamp from the Clerk of Courts, then the client knows that it was done. Clients that represent themselves often fail to complete this final step, and they often learn the hard way that it was not expunged when it is found on some background check in the future.
The good news is that the expungement process can be undertaken years after ARD completion. The expungement must be filed in the county in which the case was filed. If you need an expungement for an ARD case, contact an experienced expungement lawyer from JD Law at (814) 954-7622 or by email.