Charges for driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol (DUIs) are considered criminal charges in Pennsylvania and may be punished very harshly. Once your sentence has been completely served, the stigma of your DUI conviction can follow you for years. A DUI on your criminal record can prevent you from getting jobs or cost you other opportunities. However, it might be possible to expunge your DUI and wipe your record clean.
Expunging a conviction is anything but easy. Pennsylvania takes a rather harsh approach to expungements, and misdemeanors and felonies are generally ineligible. Since most DUIs are charged as misdemeanors and felonies, this does not bode well for DUI defendants. However, there might be other expungement options available to you, depending on your circumstances.
Our Philadelphia DUI defense lawyers can help you get your DUI expunged if you are currently facing DUI charges. The team at The Law Offices of Lloyd Long has experience with DUI expungements and is prepared to assist you in any way possible. Call us at (215) 302-0171 for a free case review.
Who Is Eligible for DUI Expungement?
Expungement eligibility in Pennsylvania is very limited. According to 18 Pa.C.S. § 9122, a person’s criminal history can be expunged under three conditions:
- First, expungement might be available when a person is at least 70 years old and has remained free of arrests and prosecutions for at least 10 years following the completion of their last sentence
- Second, expungements are possible when a person has been dead for at least 3 years.
- Third, an expungement may be possible for a person petitioning the court for the expungement of a summary offense, and they have been free of arrests and prosecutions for at least 5 years since the end of their last sentence.
In short, a person must be at least 70 years old, deceased for 3 years, or expunging a summary offense. If you want to expunge something more serious, like a felony or misdemeanor, you will have to look elsewhere. Since most DUIs are misdemeanors or felonies, this means the ordinary expungement channels are likely unavailable. For help determining what legal options you have, speak to our Philadelphia criminal defense attorneys.
How to Expunge a DUI in PA
Expunging a DUI in Pennsylvania requires using alternative methods like the Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (ARD) program. The ARD program is designed to help DUI defendants avoid jail time and expunge their DUIs. However, there are specific criteria to meet before entering the program.
Each county typically runs ARD programs, and they might have somewhat different criteria for eligibility. For example, the Philadelphia ARD program requires defendants be first-time DUI offenders to be admitted to the program. Other counties might have more relaxed rules. Talk to our Pennsylvania DUI defense attorneys about your county’s ARD program.
Once in the program, you must comply with all conditions imposed by the court. These conditions typically include alcohol treatment, a suspension of your license, payment of restitution, payment of court costs, community service, and any other conditions the court feels necessary. If you are successful, your charges will be dismissed, and any record of your DUI can be expunged.
How Long Does It Take to Get a DUI Expunged in Pennsylvania?
Under the ordinary expungement conditions mentioned above, it can take a very long time to have your DUI expunged. If eligible, your charges could be dismissed when you turn 70 years old. However, most charges are likely to remain on your record for the rest of your life.
If you are fortunate enough to get into an ARD program, you could have your DUIs expunged far more quickly. In general, the program lasts a minimum of 6 months and a maximum of 2 years. However, most people spend about 1 year in the program. Talk to our Pennsylvania DUI defense attorneys about expunging your DUIs. Hopefully, you can get into an ARD program and have your charges taken care of sooner rather than later.
How Much Does It Cost to Get Your Record Expunged in PA?
The amount of money it costs to expunge your DUIs will vary from case to case. Some standard fees may include court costs and various filing fees. These fees tend to vary from county to county, so check with our Pennsylvania DUI defense lawyers about expunging your record in your county before getting started.
However, many ARD programs may require you to pay restitution to any victims. It is not uncommon for intoxicated drivers to hit other vehicles and injure other drivers. Sometimes, pedestrians might be injured too. If people are not harmed, there could still be issues of property damage. A court might require you to pay money to your victims covering these costs before your DUI can be expunged through ARD.
If you feel that these costs might prevent you from obtaining an expungement, our Northeast Philadelphia criminal defense lawyers can help. We might be able to work with the court, so you do not have to pay all the money upfront. However, failure to pay might mean failure to complete ARD.
How Long do DUIs Stay on Your Record in PA?
DUIs typically remain on your criminal record forever unless they are expunged. Since expungements are largely possible only through ARD, many drivers live with their DUIs forever, barring exceptional circumstances.
Your driving record is a different story. Your driving record is often used to determine the charges for future driving violations or offenses. For example, a DUI is often charged based on how many prior DUIs the driver has. Repeat offenders are punished more harshly, making your driving record very important. However, Pennsylvania has a 10-year lookback rule. Under this rule, only DUIs from the past 10 years are considered when assessing new DUI charges. While prior DUIs remain on your driving record, they cannot be used against you after 10 years.
Bear in mind, the 10-year lookback rule might not prevent potential employers from seeing old DUIs. If you applied for a job where you are required to drive, a DUI could hinder your job prospects no matter how old. Speak with our Pennsylvania DUI defense lawyers for more information.
How Long Does a DUI Affect Your Insurance in PA?
The length of time your insurance is affected may depend on the circumstances of the DUI, your history of DUIs, and your insurance provider. Even one DUI is likely to affect your insurance in a bad way. In most cases, the annual cost of your insurance will go way up. For more serious DUIs, like the highest BAC DUIs, your insurance could go up even higher or remain at a higher rate for longer. A driver with a long history of DUIs could face similar consequences.
The amount of time your insurance is affected might depend on how lenient your insurance provider is. Sometimes, your insurance may automatically revert to a normal rate after a certain period of time where you are DUI-free. Other times, you might have to make a request to your insurance and prove you are not a high risk. It is best to consult with our Pennsylvania DUI defense lawyers about handling your insurance after a DUI.
Contact an Experienced DUI Lawyer to Help Clear Your Record
If you have been charged with a DUI, our Pennsylvania DUI defense attorneys can help you fight to expunge your record. Expunging a DUI is challenging, and getting into an ARD program might be your best option. Call The Law Offices of Lloyd Long at (215) 302-0171 for a free case review.