If I am required to report an Underage Drinking conviction even if expunged or the matter may still appear on a background search, then why should I bother having the matter expunged?
Why Bother Having an Underage Drinking Conviction Expunged
While the Underage Drinking charge is only a summary offense, it is included in the Pennsylvania Crimes Code, and therefore many attorneys believe that it does constitute a “criminal offense” for employment and educational application question purposes. Criminal defense attorneys across Pennsylvania debate whether or not the Underage Drinking charge is a “criminal offense.” The debates amongst lawyers often do not matter as it is more important to consider how the person or entity asking the question defines “criminal offense.” Many applications expressly state that a person need not report minor traffic convictions, so such applications make it clear the types of offenses that need not be reported. Since such applications do not exclude non-traffic summary offenses, such as Underage Drinking, such offenses should be reported.
While Underage Drinking may be considered a criminal offense, most employment applications only inquire about “convictions or guilty pleas” to criminal offenses. If a person charged with Underage Drinking is able to have the charge dismissed or be found not guilty, then the person can avoid the conviction and thereby avoid having to A person should seek expungement of Underage Drinking charges as soon as such a person is eligible to have them expunged. The sooner that the charges are expunged, the less likely it is that the government records will be obtained by private background search companies, so the less likely it is that the charges will appear on criminal background searches.
If a person charged with Underage Drinking was to avoid a conviction, the person would often not need to self-report on an employment application as such applications often only inquire about convictions and guilty pleas. In such a scenario, it would be beneficial to hopefully not have the employer find any evidence that the applicant was even charged. If a timely expungement was filed shortly after dismissal of the charge, there is a high likelihood that the Internet background search companies would not have obtained a copy of the court record, so there is a high likelihood that the prospective employer would not receive any information about the charge.
As discussed above, while an expungement does not change the fact that a person was charged or possibly convicted of Underage Drinking, some newer applications allow a person to forgo reporting if the charge was expunged or sealed by court order. Therefore, there are times that the applications expressly allow a person to forgo self-reporting an Underage Drinking conviction IF the matter has been expunged. If a person is filling out an application and the matter has not yet been expunged, then it is simply too late.
Expungement of the charge cannot hurt but may help; therefore, it is important to not overlook the expungement process. State College defense attorney Jason S. Dunkle has filed hundreds of expungement petitions in Underage Drinking cases in Centre County.report the Underage Drinking charge on applications. Also, if the charge is dismissed or a person is found not guilty, then an expungement petition can be filed to seek an order of expungement from the court to have the matter removed from the government’s criminal records upon being dismissed. While a person would think that dismissed or withdrawn charges were actually removed from the government records, in Pennsylvania, such charges remain on a person’s record unless they are expunged. After obtaining a dismissal, not guilty verdict, or a withdrawal of the charges, it is extremely important to file the expungement paperwork with the court to have the records removed from the government’s databases.
State College criminal defense lawyer Jason S. Dunkle has been able to help hundreds of clients charged with Underage Drinking avoid convictions and thereby have the charges expunged from the government’s records. Read about some of the ways Attorney Dunkle was able to obtain favorable resolutions and avoid convictions for prior Underage Drinking clients. Simply stated, by avoiding a conviction or guilty plea, a person can often avoid having to report the Underage Drinking charge to a prospective employer on employment applications. Click here to see success stories.