Everyone makes mistakes, but those errors in judgment should not haunt someone for the rest of their life. Under Pennsylvania law, eligible individuals can petition the court for expungement of the records related to certain driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs (DUI) arrests. Individuals who are not eligible for an expungement of their DUI record may be eligible for a criminal record seal of a 1st offense DUI conviction.
Difference between DUI Expungement and DUI Criminal Record Seal
A DUI expungement results in the destruction of the records related to the apprehension, arrest, detention and disposition of your DUI case within the juvenile or adult criminal justice system. A criminal record seal does not result in the destruction of the records of your DUI offense but would prevent most employers, educational admissions officers and landlords from accessing the records of your DUI conviction.
Benefits of a DUI Expungement
An alcohol or drug-related DUI record can prevent you from getting a job in your chosen field or getting into the college or graduate school of your choice. An expungement of your DUI offense would prevent the records of your arrest and disposition of the case from appearing on background checks conducted by potential employers, educational admissions officers, landlords and financial institutions. The expungement of a DUI arrest can also help restore your reputation and standing in your community.
Benefits of a DUI Criminal Record Seal
A criminal record seal would significantly limit the number of people and agencies who may access your sealed DUI conviction, including current and potential employers, educational institutions, financial institutions and landlords. A criminal record seal of your DUI conviction can remove a significant obstacle to pursuing your personal and professional goals.
I have over a decade of experience successfully assisting individuals with the expungement of their DUI records in Bucks County, Montgomery County and the surrounding counties. Contact me at (215) 752-5282 for a free initial consultation or fill out the confidential contact form for an immediate response. Appointments are available after business hours and on weekends.
Pennsylvania DUI Expungement
In Pennsylvania, a DUI expungement refers to the legal process by which the records of an adult or juvenile DUI arrest are removed and destroyed by the police, probation department, court officials and other agencies that may be in possession of any records of the case.
DUI Expungement Eligibility
Many people are unaware that they are eligible to have the records of their DUI case expunged through a process initiated in the court system. You may be eligible for expungement of your DUI case under any of the following circumstances:
- Your DUI charges were dismissed or withdrawn; or
- You were acquitted of DUI charges after a trial; or
- The court certifies that there has been no prosecution of the DUI charge after 18 months; or
- You successfully completed the Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (ARD) Program as a 1st time DUI offender and completed all the terms and conditions of the program; or
- You are at least 70 years of age and have not been arrested in the 10 years since your or release from supervision; or
- The subject of the expungement petition has been dead for 3 or more years; or
- You have received a pardon for the DUI conviction from the Governor of Pennsylvania
Benefits of a DUI Expungement
There are many benefits to having your DUI record expunged including:
- Removes your DUI record from employment and background searches
- Prevents adverse effects of a DUI record in adoption proceedings
- Increases your eligibility for professional licensure and certification
- May increase your employment earning potential
- Prevents your DUI record from interfering with housing opportunities
- Prevents your criminal record from adversely effecting your housing opportunities
- Removes a potential obstacle to receiving personal and business loans
- Removes detrimental information that may be used against you when applying for a business or personal loan
The Harmful Impact of a Juvenile DUI Record
As an experienced juvenile expungement attorney, I understand the harmful effect that the existence of a juvenile DUI record can have on a young person’s educational, employment and financial opportunities. As a consequence, it is extremely important to take the necessary steps to expunge your DUI record if you qualify for expungement under the Pennsylvania law.
As an experienced juvenile expungement attorney, I understand the harmful effect that the existence of a juvenile DUI record can have on a young person’s educational and employment opportunities. For example, a juvenile DUI record may make it difficult for a young person to get into college, graduate school or the military.
A juvenile DUI record may make it difficult for a young professional to find work in their chosen profession. A juvenile DUI record may also make it difficult for a young professional to receive professional licensure or certification required for employment in certain fields. As a consequence, it is extremely important to take the necessary steps to expunge your juvenile DUI record if you qualify for expungement under Pennsylvania law.
Juvenile DUI Expungement
The Pennsylvania juvenile expungement law is found under 18 Pa. C.S.A. § 9123. The law allows for juvenile DUI records to be expunged under the following circumstances:
- A complaint is filed alleging the charge of DUI which is not substantiated; or
- A petition is filed alleging the charge of DUI which is dismissed by the court; or
- Six months have passed since the juvenile has successfully completed a DUI-related informal adjustment and no hearings involving juvenile or adult criminal charges are pending; or
- Six months have passed since the juvenile’s final discharge from supervision from a DUI-related consent decree or similar diversion program and no hearings involving juvenile or adult criminal charges are pending; or
- Five years have passed since the individual’s discharge from commitment, placement, probation or any other disposition or referral for the DUI offense and the individual has not been convicted of any subsequent felony or misdemeanor offenses and no hearings involving juvenile or adult criminal charges are pending; or
- The prosecutor consents to the expungement of the DUI records and the court orders expungement of the records after considering the following factors:
- The type of offense; and
- The individual’s age, employment history, criminal history and drug or alcohol problems; and
- The adverse consequences that the individual seeking expungement may suffer if the records are not expunged; and
- Whether the retention of the DUI record is necessary for public safety
I can review your case and determine whether you qualify for a juvenile DUI expungement.
Criminal Record Seal for DUI
Petitioning the court for a criminal record seal (also referred to as an Order of Limited Access) is beneficial to individuals who are not eligible for expungement of the records of their DUI offense. Individuals who have been convicted of certain misdemeanor DUI offenses are entitled to petition the court for a criminal record seal of their DUI conviction.
Benefits of a Criminal Record Seal for DUI
A sealed criminal record would be still available to law enforcement, the Department of Public Welfare and county children and youth agencies as well as legal, medical, teaching, real estate or nursing agencies that issue professional occupational licenses. However, a criminal record seal will greatly limit the number of people and agencies that may access the records of your DUI case including employers, educational institutions, landlords and others. A criminal record seal of your DUI conviction can also protect your reputation and privacy.
Eligibility for Criminal Record Seal for DUI
Pennsylvania’s limited access law is found under 18 Pa. C.S.A. § 9122.1. You may be eligible for a criminal record seal of your DUI conviction if all of the following apply:
- You were convicted, pled guilty or were found guilty of a DUI offense that was classified as an ungraded misdemeanor with a penalty not exceeding 2 years or a misdemeanor of the 2nd or 3rd degree; and
- You have not been arrested or convicted for a period of 10 years following release from confinement or supervision for the DUI offense, whichever is later; and
- You have not been convicted of certain disqualifying offenses including any of the following crimes:
- Any felony offenses; or
- Simple assault graded as a 2nd degree misdemeanor; or
- Impersonating a public official; or
- Intimidation or retaliation against a victim or witness; or
- First-degree misdemeanor offenses; or
- Any offense requiring sex offender registration; and
- You have not been convicted of obstruction of a child abuse case; and
- You have not been convicted of 4 or more offenses graded as misdemeanors of the 2nd or 3rd degree; and
- You have paid all fines and costs on the DUI case for which you are requesting the limited access record seal
The Criminal Record Seal Application Process
I can file a Petition for Limited Access in the Court of Common Pleas in the county where your DUI charges were filed if you meet the eligibility requirements under the criminal record seal law. The District Attorney will have 30 days to file an objection to the Petition for Limited Access.
The Criminal Record Seal Hearing
If no objection is filed by the District Attorney, a judge in the Court of Common Pleas will grant an Order for Limited Access if the Petitioner is otherwise eligible. If the district attorney objects, your case will be scheduled for a hearing before a judge of the Court of Common Pleas. At the time of the hearing, I will present evidence of your background and character to persuade the court to grant the Order of Limited Access. I can review your case and determine your eligibility for a criminal record seal of your DUI conviction.
The DUI Expungement Process
The DUI expungement process can take up to 6 months and is initiated with the filing of the Expungement Petition and supporting documentation with the clerk of courts in the Court of Common Pleas in the county where the DUI charges were filed. In cases involving a hearing, I will present evidence on behalf of the Petitioner including character letters, background information and the petitioner’s own testimony if necessary. Evidence presented on behalf of the Petitioner will often include character letters, background information and the testimony of the Petitioner in support of the granting of the expungement order. The judge will grant the Order for Expungement if the Petitioner has met the legal burden of proof at the conclusion of the hearing.
Completing the DUI Expungement Process
Certified copies of the expungement order must be forwarded to all agencies in possession of records related to the DUI case. Those agencies are required to provide the Petitioner with written verification of the destruction of all of the records related to the Petitioner’s DUI case. The Pennsylvania State Police are permitted under the law to maintain a record of ARD-related DUI cases for limited purposes.
Trusted Guidance in the DUI Expungement and Record Seal Process
Applying for an expungement or criminal record seal of a DUI case is a long and complicated process. Petitions for expungement or criminal record seal are often denied because court documents are not filled out properly or because the petition or accompanying documentation is not filed on time. I am highly skilled and knowledgeable in all areas of Pennsylvania expungement and record seal law. I can help you navigate the complicated process of having your DUI record expunged or sealed.
Take the First Step to Protect Your Future
A conviction or adjudication for a DUI offense can carry severe consequences for personal, professional and financial opportunities. For those who qualify under the law, it is extremely important to take the necessary steps to expunge or seal the records of your DUI case. Phone lines are open 24 hours a day at (215) 752-5282. Call today for a free initial consultation or fill out the confidential contact form for an immediate response.