Does completion of ARD for my DUI offense automatically result in the expungement of the charges from my record?
Expungement of Charges for Completion
Successful completion of ARD gives a person charged with DUI the ability to have charges dismissed and expunged. Many people make the mistake of believing that the court or probation department will complete the dismissal and expungement process for them. Centre County, like most counties in Pennsylvania, do not complete the expungement process for a DUI defendant. Instead, the person must file a Motion to Dismiss, and, upon having the charges dismissed, a Petition to Expunge must be filed to have the dismissed DUI charges expunged. If the appropriate paperwork is not filed, then, not only will the DUI charges remain on the person’s record, but the record will also reflect that the charges remain pending. If employers see that charges are pending, they often fear that the person could be convicted of the DUI charges and thereby facing the mandatory minimum penalties (link to DUI mandatory minimum penalties) stemming from a conviction, which often includes jail time and license suspension.
The primary goal in completing ARD is to have the DUI charges dismissed and then expunged, so the failure to finalize the expungement process negates the purpose in completing ARD. Many people try to avoid retaining a criminal defense lawyer for an ARD case because they often think that the court or probation department will tell them how to do everything. While an ARD disposition is not a difficult case for an experienced DUI defense attorney, it is a new and unknown process for most people unfamiliar with the criminal system. The old adage that ignorance of the law is not an excuse is applicable here. If the expungement process is not handled correctly, the error is generally only discovered AFTER the charge appears on a criminal background search, at which point it is too late to keep the record of the DUI case from being discovered by a prospective employer. It is easier and generally more cost effective to hire an attorney to handle a DUI case properly at the beginning instead of hiring one to try and rectify a problem after the fact. State College DUI lawyer Jason S. Dunkle had represented thousands of people charged with DUI in counties across Pennsylvania, including Blair, Centre, Clearfield, Clinton, Huntingdon, and Mifflin counties.