Case Result: State College Resisting Arrest Expungement Case

Expungement of Summary Convictions

The client, a former Penn State student, had been charged with Resisting Arrest, a misdemeanor offense, and three summary offenses of Underage Drinking, Public Drunkenness, and Harassment. The client had a Centre County criminal defense lawyer that negotiated a plea offer that required the client to plead guilty to the above-referenced charges. The client was hoping to expunge as many of the charges as possible to reduce the length of the criminal record and thereby increase the likelihood that he could obtain employment.

The client served the probationary sentence without issue and had remained free of arrest and prosecution for 5 years. Also, the client was over the age of 21 and had fully served the Underage Drinking sentence. Therefore, the client was eligible to have all of the summary offenses expunged. The client could not have the Resisting Arrest misdemeanor offense expunged as a misdemeanor and felony conviction cannot be expunged in Pennsylvania. The client filed the expungement petition on his own and hoped that the district attorney would not oppose the expungement. After the Centre County District Attorney’s Office filed an objection to the expungement petition, the former Penn State student retained Centre County expungement attorney Jason S. Dunkle for assistance.

Attorney Dunkle appeared at a hearing before a Centre County judge, and the Centre County District Attorney argued that the court should deny the expungement petition because executing the expungement would be too onerous of a task under the circumstances. Basically, the district attorney was arguing that it would be too difficult to expunge only the summary offenses while leaving the misdemeanor charge on the records. Attorney Dunkle argued that the court did not have the discretion to deny the expungement of the Underage Drinking charge as the expungement law stated that the court “shall” grant expungement if the petitioner was over the age of 21 and had served the sentence. The use of the word “shall” clearly indicated that the district attorney’s argument must be rejected.

The remaining two summary offenses could be expunged under a different portion of the expungement law, and this portion of the law did not mandate expungement. Instead, the judge was required to consider various factors in determining whether or not expungement was appropriate. State College criminal defense lawyer Jason S. Dunkle argued that the client was deserving of expungement as the initial criminal incident had been alcohol-related, and the client had sought alcohol treatment and had remained alcohol-free since the incident, which had occurred over five years prior. Attorney Dunkle also argued that the district attorney’s argument that an expungement, in this case, was too difficult must be rejected because the court was required to order the expungement of the Underage Drinking offense, so, if the district attorney was expunging the record of one summary, expunging the remaining two summaries was not too onerous. The Centre County judge agreed with the experienced criminal defense lawyer and ordered expungement of the summary offenses.