Possessing an arrest or conviction record can put one’s future in jeopardy. For example, a conviction for underage drinking can show up on a background check and make it difficult to secure a job or a visa.
You can get this black mark removed from your record through a procedure called expungement. However, expungement laws vary by state, so it’s important to work with an experienced attorney in Philadelphia. Let’s dig deep into the process of having an underage drinking charge in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, expunged from your record. Discuss your case with an experienced lawyer at Lento Law Firm.
The Expungement: What Is It?
An expungement, or “sealing,” of a criminal record is the legal procedure by which such a record is destroyed. The goal of this procedure is to provide ex-offenders with a second chance.
There are tight rules for expungement in Pennsylvania since doing so permanently removes a criminal charge from your record.
Pennsylvania Expungement Cases That May Be Dismissed
In Pennsylvania, expungement is possible for the following offenses:
Cases in which criminal charges were filed against you but no conviction was issued are referred to as “non-conviction records.” If you haven’t committed any further misdemeanors or felonies, you may be eligible to have your records completely expunged.
- In Pennsylvania, misdemeanors and infractions of lesser degrees are classified as summary offenses. This category includes instances of public intoxication, disorderly behavior, and underage drinking. After satisfying your sentence for a summary offense, you may apply to have your record sealed or expunged.
- Expungement eligibility may also depend on your participation in and completion of special programs like Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (ARD). First-time, nonviolent offenders, are eligible for this pre-trial intervention program.
- Those of you who are 70 and up: To be eligible for expungement, you must be at least 70 years old and have no previous criminal convictions within the past ten years.
Getting a Pennsylvania Drunk Driving Ticket Expunged
All fines and tickets have been paid in full; the driver’s license suspension period has ended; a petition to expunge has been filed with the Court of Common Pleas.
It may take a few months to get your records cleansed after starting the expungement procedure. Furthermore, there is no assurance that your petition will be granted.
After the Charge is Dismissed
Once the charge is dismissed, there are a few things you should be aware of. The first is that your arrest will still appear on your record and can be used against you if you are ever arrested or charged with another crime. Even if the charge is dismissed, your court appearance will remain in your record — it’s important to keep this in mind when applying for jobs or housing in the future.
It is also important to understand that having the charge dismissed does not erase it from your record. If you want to expunge the charge from your record (aka ‘seal’ your records), then you must contact an attorney to assist you with this process. The process of expungement varies by state, so it is best to consult a lawyer familiar with the laws in your state if possible.
Finally, it’s important to learn from this experience and take steps towards making sure that no future legal issues arise. Ensure that you follow all court orders and finish any probation or community service ordered by the judges and avoid similar situations in which alcohol may be involved at underage events or gatherings. Education on drinking responsibly and safely should be acquired as well if necessary.