Can a charge of Underage Drinking be expunged from the records?
State College Underage Drinking Charge Expungement Attorney
Generally, a charge of Underage Drinking can be expunged under two subsections of section 9122 of the Crimes Code. One subsection allows for the expungement of “non-conviction” data, meaning charges that have been dismissed, withdrawn, or the person was found not guilty. The other subsection allows the expungement of convictions and guilty pleas of Underage Drinking after the person has turned 21-years-old and successfully completed the sentence.
If the charge is dismissed or the person is found “not guilty,” then expungement of the criminal records can be sought immediately. Such an expungement is discretionary with the court, and the court considers the reason for the judge’s dismissal of the charge. If the person was found not guilty of Underage Drinking, then it is extremely unlikely that a judge would deny the expungement request. If the Underage Drinking charge were dismissed because of an agreement with the officer or because of participation in a first-time offenders program, then a judge may deny the expungement, but a denial is unlikely. It must be noted that only the criminal record portion can be expunged immediately. If a person participate in a first-time offenders program and thereby incurred a suspension of driving privileges, the Pennsylvania driving record CANNOT be expunged until the person’s 21st birthday. The driving record is retained in case the person is charged with a subsequent offense of Underage Drinking and thereby would face increased penalties for repeat offenses. If the person was found not guilty, then such a person did not receive a suspension of driving privileges, so there is no driving record to expunge.
Guilty plea or conviction can be expunged after age 21
If a person is convicted of or pled guilty to Underage Drinking, he or she is eligible to seek expungement of the charge after he or she has turned 21 years of age and has completed the sentence. The expungement under this subsection of the law is mandatory, meaning a judge does not have discretion to deny the expungement petition if the petitioner meets the requirements. Serving the sentence is often the prohibiting factor at times. A sentence includes the license suspension, so a person is not eligible to expunge under this expungement law unless they have restored his or her Pennsylvania driving privileges. Restored does not simply mean served the suspension. In some cases, clients receive additional suspensions that are run consecutively to a suspension that was related to an Underage Drinking offense. The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) will not expunge a driving record until the suspension related to Underage Drinking has been served and the driving privileges are restored. Upon restoration of the driving privileges and payment of court fines, a person successfully serves the sentence, and, upon turning 21 years of age, is eligible to have the Underage Drinking charge expunged from both the criminal and driving records.