What kinds of crimes can be expunged?

Having a criminal conviction on your record can negatively impact your life long after you have discharged your sentence. Even having an arrest without a conviction on your record can cause problems. Thankfully, many types of less serious criminal convictions can be expunged in Pennsylvania. If you have a criminal record, the legal team at DiCindio Law can help you to understand whether the expungement of your record might be an option.

What does expungement or sealing of your record mean?

Under Pennsylvania law, expungement or the sealing of a criminal record can occur when a judge issues an order limiting access to your record. Record sealing and expungement are two separate processes. However, if your record is expunged or sealed, most prospective employers that conduct background checks will be unable to access the information that has been expunged or sealed. In some cases, you may also be legally entitled to deny that you have been convicted or arrested.

An expungement occurs when a court orders the expungement of a person’s criminal record. This process is authorized under Pa. C.S.A. § 9122. When this type of order is issued, the entry of conviction will be physically removed from the criminal record. However, the Pennsylvania State Police Central Repository and the prosecuting attorney will retain copies. The confidentiality of the expunged records will be protected, and the records will only be able to be viewed by law enforcement agencies and the courts on their request. For others, it will be like the incident never occurred.

When a record is sealed under a judge’s order of limited access, the record will not be physically destroyed. Sealed criminal records under limited access do not allow the general public, including private employers and landlords, to access them. Under Pa. C.S.A. § 9122.1, the only parties that can view sealed records under an order of limited access include law enforcement agencies, child protective services, and professional licensing boards.

Are certain convictions automatically expunged after a specific time?

There are not any convictions that are automatically expunged after a specific time has elapsed. Some people believe this occurs because they confuse their criminal and driving records. Unlike traffic offenses on your driving record, criminal convictions do not fall off of your criminal record. While traffic violations may no longer be considered by an insurance company after a specific period, they do not disappear. With criminal convictions, they will not fall off of your record. The only way for you to have them removed is to file a petition for an expungement.

Having a conviction or an arrest on your criminal record can cause problems when you are searching for a job or a new place to live. Criminal records can also prevent you from obtaining certain professional licenses. Expungement allows you to have certain convictions or arrests removed from your record, and record sealing under an order for limited access limits the parties that can access your records. After you have your record sealed or expunged, the general public will no longer be able to access the information.

Who can have their criminal and arrest records expunged or sealed in Pennsylvania?

While an expungement or an order for limited access can help you by cleaning up your record, not all convictions are eligible for expungement or sealing. You need to determine whether your conviction is eligible for expungement or sealing before you move forward.

What records are eligible for expungement?

Under Pennsylvania law, the following records might be eligible for expungement:

  • Records of convictions for summary offenses
  • Certain arrest records
  • Cases that were resolved through an ARD program
  • Underage consumption, purchase, or possession of alcohol
  • Convictions for people who are 70 or older

Summary offenses are low-level offenses that carry the potential for a fine and up to 90 days of jail. If you have a conviction for a summary offense on your record, you may be eligible to have your record expunged. To qualify, you must not have been prosecuted or arrested for another crime for at least five years from the date of your conviction for the summary offense.

Some types of non-traffic summary offenses in Pennsylvania include the following:

  • Disorderly conduct
  • Shoplifting or retail theft
  • Public intoxication
  • Harassment
  • False identification

Some arrest records may also be eligible for expungement. If you were arrested, and no disposition of your case is recorded within 18 months, your arrest record may be eligible for expungement. You also might be eligible to expunge your arrest record if the charges were dismissed without a conviction.

Certain types of cases that are resolved through an accelerated rehabilitative disposition or ARD program in Pennsylvania may be eligible for expungement. If you successfully completed an ARD program, you can petition the court to expunge your record. However, if you completed an ARD program for a sex offense that was committed against a minor, you are not eligible to have it expunged.

If you were convicted of the underage consumption, purchase, or possession of alcohol, you may be eligible to have your record expunged. If you were younger than 21 but at least 18 and have completed all of the terms of your sentence, you are eligible to have your record expunged as long as you are now age 21 or older.

If you are 70 or older, you might also qualify for an expungement of your criminal record. To qualify, you must not have been arrested or prosecuted for another crime for at least 10 years after you were released from supervision or incarceration.

Which records are eligible to be sealed under an order for limited access?

You might be able to obtain an order of limited access if you were convicted of certain misdemeanors or ungraded offenses that carry a maximum potential penalty of two years of imprisonment or less. This includes convictions for second- and third-degree misdemeanors. To be eligible to have these types of convictions sealed, you cannot apply until 10 years have passed since you successfully completed all of the terms and conditions of your sentence. You also must not have been prosecuted or arrested for another crime during the waiting period.

Certain types of criminal records cannot ever be sealed under an order for limited access. Some examples include criminal convictions for impersonating public officials, witness or victim intimidation, and offenses that require you to register as a sex offender.

How do you get an expungement or a record sealing order for limited access?

If your criminal or arrest record is eligible for sealing or expungement, you must complete a petition to expunge your record or a petition for an order of limited access. This petition must be filed in the court that handled your case. When you complete the petition, you will be required to include personal information about you and information about each record that you want the court to order expunged or sealed. If you need copies of the records that are related to your case, contact the court or the arresting agency to request them.

You can find petition forms on the Unified Judicial System of Pennsylvania’s website. There are multiple forms on the website, so you will need to make certain to select the one that applies to your case.

Is it easier to obtain an expungement or record sealing of certain convictions than others?

Low-level offenses are much easier to expunge or seal because they are not as stigmatized as higher-level offenses. Courts are prohibited from expunging the records of people who have completed an ARD program for the following types of offenses when the victim was under the age of 18:

  • Rape under Pa. C.S.A. § 3121
  • Statutory sexual assault under Pa. C.S.A. § 3122.1
  • Involuntary deviate sexual intercourse under Pa. C.S.A. § 3123
  • Sexual assault under Pa. C.S.A. § 3124.1
  • Aggravated indecent assault under Pa. C.S.A. § 3125
  • Indecent exposure under Pa. C.S.A. § 3126
  • Prostitution and related offenses under Pa. C.S.A. § 5902(b)
  • Obscene materials and performances under Pa. C.S.A. § 5903

Offenses that are not eligible to be sealed under a record of limited access include the following:

  • Offenses that involve danger to a victim carrying more than two years of imprisonment
  • Offenses against the family that carry more than two years of imprisonment
  • Offenses related to firearms and other dangerous weapons that carry more than two years of imprisonment
  • Tiered sexual offenses as found in 42 Pa.C.S. § 9799.14
  • Sexual offenses that require sex offender registration under 42 Pa.C.S. § 9799.55
  • Corruption of a minor under Pa. C.S.A. § 6301(a)(1)
  • Murder offenses
  • First-degree felony offenses
  • Offenses that carry potential sentences of 20 years or more
  • Certain convictions in the past 20 years for offenses carrying seven or more years
  • Four or more offenses that are punishable by two or more years in prison
  • People who have been convicted of two or more offenses carrying two or more years in prison within the last 15 years
  • Indecent exposure conviction within the past 15 years
  • Sexual intercourse with an animal conviction within the past 15 years
  • Failing to comply with registration requirements within the last 15 years
  • Offenses within the past 15 years of having implements of escape or weapons
  • Offense within the past 15 years for abuse of a corpse
  • Offense for paramilitary training within the past 15 years

How does a criminal record impact an expungement or record-sealing petition?

If your offense of conviction occurred within the applicable waiting period, you cannot apply for a petition to have it expunged. If you have been arrested or prosecuted for other crimes during the waiting period, you also are ineligible to file a petition for expungement or record sealing. If you have charges currently pending against you, you cannot file a petition to expunge or seal your record. Finally, if you were convicted of one of the offenses for which expungement or record sealing is not available, you cannot file a petition for expungement. An attorney can help you to determine whether you are eligible to file a petition for expungement or for your record to be sealed under an order of limited access.

Common misconceptions about the expungement process in Pennsylvania

Some people believe that after an expungement order is issued, their gun rights will be automatically restored. Others believe that expunged records cannot be used against them when they have subsequent criminal charges. Others believe that the expungement process is fast and that once they hire a lawyer, they will have their records expunged within a few days. Law enforcement agencies and the courts can see expunged records, and they can take them into account when you are prosecuted and convicted for a new crime. The expungement process also is not instantaneous. Instead, it must go through the court process. How fast the court process might take will depend on the court’s docket and scheduling availability.

Get help from DiCindio Law

The expungement and record-sealing laws in Pennsylvania are complicated. If you are unsure whether your record is eligible for expungement or record sealing under an order for limited access, you might want to talk to an experienced attorney at DiCindio Law. We can help you to understand the options that you might have. If you appear to be eligible to have your record expunged or sealed, we can help you to draft and file the petition and guide you through the process. Schedule a confidential consultation today by calling 610.430.3535 or by filling out our online contact form.

Can You Have a DUI Conviction Expunged?

If you have a DUI conviction on your record, then you are probably already aware of the impact it can have on your life, particularly when it comes to applying for loans or to jobs. You may want to consider an expungement of the DUI conviction which will seal records pertaining to this conviction from public databases and background checks.

However, not everyone is eligible for expungement. State law differs on this subject greatly and is complex. To help provide an understanding of whether you can have a DUI conviction expunged, here is what you need to know.

Expungement Overview

Expungement is a legal process in which a person can petition to have their criminal conviction sealed from public databases. This will essentially erase records of the DUI conviction from background checks and public records.

This can be especially beneficial when:

  • Searching for job
  • Applying for financing with a lender
  • When looking for housing landlord.

When a conviction is expunged from your record, a background check by any potential employer, landlord, lender, educational institution, or simply the general public will no longer show your prior DUI conviction or any records of it.

There are some exceptions to note. If a conviction is expunged, the record will still be available in certain instances. Most law enforcement agencies will have access to view any prior conviction records and arrest records. Also, courts will be able to see prior convictions that were expunged for purposes of determining if there have been repeated offenses, also known as the “second strike” rule, that can lead to elevated charges and higher penalties.

Expungement laws vary greatly by state. Whether you can have a DUI conviction expunged will depend on the state expungement laws for which your DUI case was brought.

State Law

Since expungement eligibility is based upon state law, the first step is determining whether your DUI conviction was in a state that permits the expungement of any conviction. Not all states permit the expungement of prior criminal convictions. Some limit it to arrest records for non-convictions while others will not expunge records of prior criminal charges. Additionally, some states limit the types of crimes that may be expunged.

If the state permits expungement of DUI convictions, there are still procedural rules and other requirements to be aware of that may also impact your eligibility.

Time That Has Passed Since the DUI Conviction

Some states require that a person waits for a set number of years following the conviction before they are permitted to seek expungement. This differs in each state and can range from one to ten years since the conviction. However, this is not always the case and can be complicated by factors such as additional offenses since the DUI conviction and your age when you got the DUI conviction.

Also, some states have programs that may allow for expungement, such as the ARD program in Pennsylvania. In this case, the program terms would guide when you are eligible to petition for an expungement of a DUI conviction.

Usually, states require that persons have an otherwise clean criminal record prior to petitioning the court for the expungement of a DUI conviction.

Clean Record

Regardless of the time period that is set by the state law for when a person can petition for expungement, most states will require a clean criminal record for the time period since the conviction and the beginning of the expungement process. This would hold true for a DUI conviction if the state permits conviction for this type of crime.

Some states may permit minor offenses or other criminal charges, depending on the severity and facts of the conviction or arrest and the amount of time that has passed since those offenses.

If you have multiple DUI convictions, or other convictions, especially felony convictions, since the DUI conviction for which you are seeking expungement, then it is unlikely that you are eligible. However, there are a few exceptions. As such, it is good to consult with an attorney about the facts of your case and whether you are eligible for a DUI conviction to be expunged based on the applicable state law if this is something you want to pursue.

Can a Felony DUI Conviction be Expunged?

Generally speaking, felony convictions are more difficult to get expunged and are only permitted by some states. Since it will depend on the applicable state’s law, it is good to seek counsel if you are unclear as to which state’s law would apply for your conviction.

Some states will allow DUI felony convictions to be expunged depending on the facts of the case and whether there was an injury.

For states that permit expungement for DUI convictions that are felonies, it will be difficult to be eligible for expungement if there were aggravating factors such as injury to another person, property damage, or endangering the welfare of a child (which may be as simple as a young child was in the car at the time of the DUI arrest).

Pennsylvania Law

In Pennsylvania, you cannot get a DUI conviction expunged. The only option for getting DUI records is if the defendant enters the Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (ARD) program. The ARD program is only permitted for misdemeanor charges that did not result in a criminal conviction.

Process for Expungement

If you are eligible for expungement, then you will need to submit a petition with either the court or the district attorney’s office. It will need to follow the process for the state that entered your DUI conviction. It is a complicated and involved process.

After submitting the petition, then you may have a hearing in some states. In others, the judge or district attorney reviews your application to determine whether to grant your request for expungement. Typically the application to expunge a DUI conviction is reviewed alongside other pertinent factors, such as:

  • Your driving history since the DUI conviction
  • Whether there have been any charges brought against you since the conviction
  • The amount of time that has passed since the conviction
  • Whether any drug treatment and rehabilitation programs were completed
  • Whether your license was reinstated by the DMV if your DUI conviction resulted in a suspension of your license
  • How much time has passed since having your driving privileges restored.

Are You Eligible for a DUI Conviction? Contact a DUI Attorney

If you have a DUI conviction and think you may be eligible to petition for it to be expunged or need help determining whether you are eligible, then you may want to seek the advice of a DUI attorney. A DUI attorney can also help you navigate through the process of expungement.

If you need help with the expungement process for a DUI conviction and would like to discuss your case with us at DiCindio Law, LLC, fill out our contact form and we will contact you as soon as possible.

What Crimes and Felonies Cannot Be Expunged?

What Crimes and Felonies Cannot Be Expunged?

People with criminal records may have an option to have these records expunged from their criminal history. In short, this can allow a person’s criminal history to be treated as if it never happened, with some exceptions.

Not all crimes can be expunged. It depends on the crime and applicable state law. Expungement laws, rules, and procedures vary drastically by state. Continue reading to learn more about what crimes and felonies typically cannot be expunged and the expungement process.

Why Consider Expungement?

Expungement is a legal process in which a person can petition the applicable state or local court to have their criminal records sealed from public databases.

A main advantage of petitioning for an expungement, if eligible, is that potential employers will have a harder time finding out about prior crimes or arrests. Records for the conviction, arrest, or both can be expunged and sealed from public databases and background check databases.

Persons that get crimes expunged from their records also can usually answer no to questions about whether they have past criminal convictions. Moreover, expungement can help people with prior convictions when they are applying for housing or higher education. It may also open more access to voting where criminal convictions are preventing their eligibility to vote.

Limits to Sealed Records

Note that there are some exceptions to sealed records and the access or disclosure of them. Most law enforcement agencies will still have access to records for an expunged conviction and arrest records. Also, some states require disclosing criminal records that were expunged to potential employers for certain types of jobs. These may include jobs that involve working with children, law enforcement, or financial services. Moreover, expunged records may still need to be disclosed when applying for some professional licenses.

What Crimes Can and Cannot Be Expunged?

While expungement varies by state law, the types of crimes for which expungement is available typically include minor offenses and crimes committed by a juvenile. Also, non-conviction records can often be expunged.

Crimes involving violence, endangerment to children, kidnapping, sexual assault, robbery, arson, terrorism, and severe injury or death of another person typically are not eligible for expungement. This is not always the case though in every state and may not be the case based on the specifics of the person’s charges that are seeking to have a criminal record expunged, including whether there was a conviction.

Felony charges are also extremely difficult to expunge, especially if they resulted in a conviction. Sometimes it is not possible to have a felony conviction expunged. Felonies are serious crimes. Since the focus of expungement is on the nature of the crime and the facts surrounding it, then crimes that result in felony charges or felony convictions are going to be much more difficult in general, regardless of the state, to get expunged.

State Law

Arrest records can often show up in background checks and public databases even if they did not result in a conviction. Most states will expunge non-conviction records. Some states will also expunge criminal records for certain crimes that resulted in a conviction.

Usually, juvenile crimes and most misdemeanors or minor crimes are easier to get expunged. Difficulties can arise though if the person has an extensive criminal record.

Arrest Records

Arrest records are not always made public but may show up in background checks. This is so even if there was no conviction. Some states will expunge them, especially when there was no conviction. If they resulted in a conviction, then they may be expunged as part of the petition to expunge the criminal record. The process on arrest records and how they are expunged varies by state.

The laws on this are complicated and nuanced. Anyone concerned about non-conviction records or arrest records should inquire about the state’s expungement rules for such records. This may also be necessary even when a petition is requested for a criminal conviction to be expunged. While the criminal conviction records may be expunged through a successful petition with the court, it is not always the case that the arrest records are expunged as well.

Future Crimes and Expungement

A successfully expunged criminal record may not stay sealed if the person is later involved again with the criminal justice system. Moreover, many states will not expunge a criminal conviction if someone already had another earlier crime expunged from their record, especially if it is the same offense. Here the first crime may possibly stay expunged, but it may still be used as a factor in the severity of charges brought for the later crime(s), and also the expunged crime may be considered during sentencing, resulting in more severe penalties.

If a person is seeking to get a crime expunged but has criminal charges that have occurred after that crime, then it will add another hurdle. Subsequent criminal history will be considered when a petition to expunge a criminal conviction is reviewed. In some states or instances, other criminal history will bar persons from seeking expungement of criminal charges entirely.

Can My Felony be Expunged?

Some states will allow for felonies to be expunged. However, this is very difficult and may not be possible depending on the state, the time that has gone by since the conviction, the person’s criminal record, and the nature of the crime. Some states may expunge more easily for felonies and other criminal convictions if there has been a long period of time since the crime was committed.

Also, if a person is trying to have a felony conviction expunged that occurred in another state, then the other state’s laws and procedures need will determine expungement eligibility. For example, there are some states that will expunge DUI/DWI convictions while others will not.

Usually states will not allow felonies to be expunged for violent felonies, sexual assaults, and other serious crimes such as endangerment to children, crimes involving weapons or arson, and perjury. While the exact laws vary by state, these types of crimes are unlikely to be eligible for expungement, especially if it is a felony.

Also, most states will not expunge felony convictions, regardless of the crime. For those states, however, there may still be an option to expunge felony records if the case did not result in a conviction or if it was dismissed, pardoned, abandoned, or withdrawn.

Process for Expungement

Usually, where an expungement is an option, the person seeking it will need to petition the court for expungement and follow the state-specific rules. There may be conditions that need to be met prior to petitioning the court for expungement. Additionally, there are procedural rules that must be followed. Documents will likely also need to be gathered to support the request for expungement.

Need Help With the Expungement Process?

Due to the complex nature of the expungement process and the varying state laws and procedural rules, anyone considering seeking an expungement for a criminal conviction or a felony should consider contacting an attorney with the facts of their cases to set up an initial consultation on expungement eligibility and process.

If you need help with determining the state requirements for a criminal record that you want expunged, or help with going through the expungement process, contact Mike DiCindio, Esq. by filling out our contact form to receive a call from someone to chat about your possible expungement case.

Can An Aggravated Assault Charged Be Expunged?

Being arrested and charged for a crime can negatively impact your future more than you think, effecting your personal life and limiting your opportunities professionally. Even in cases where charges were ultimately dismissed, your public record will still reflect the charges that you were arrested for.

The Pennsylvania expungement law was recently expanded in 2018 to include some violent offenses, such as aggravated assault. If you have been convicted of aggravated assault, you may be considering getting your criminal record expunged. Removing an aggravated assault criminal charge from your public record is a difficult process, but it can be done if you meet the qualifications. Find out the details of how you can seek removal of your criminal record from the public database.

What is aggravated assault?

Aggravated assault is a felony charge that is not taken lightly in the Pennsylvania justice system. Here are some examples of aggravated assault:

  • Striking or the threat of striking a person with a weapon or object
  • Using a firearm to shoot someone or threatening to shoot or kill someone while pointing a gun at them
  • Committing assault with the intent to commit another felony crime
  • Committing assault that results in serious physical injury to someone else
  • Committing assault against a member of a protected class

Effects of a criminal record

When a person is charged with a crime, they may face jail time and court fees, as well as specific conditions such as probation or parole. The short-term effects are burdensome, but the long-term implications can be just as devastating. A permanent criminal record is filed with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), as well as the Pennsylvania State Police, local law enforcement, the court, and government agencies. The criminal record contains details pertaining to arrest, conviction, and any supervision details. This means that future employers are able to pull up your criminal record in a background check and see that you have a conviction for aggravated assault. This could have a big impact on current or future employment.

How to get your criminal record expunged

Because of the negative impact a criminal record can have on your life, it is important to consider getting your criminal record expunged wherever possible. Here are the steps that you need to take in the expungement process.

Step 1 – Eligibility

The very first step determines whether you will be eligible to have your record expunged. In Pennsylvania, you are eligible if you were convicted of a crime, and meet any one of the following:

  • You are at least 70 years old and have had a clear record for 10 years you were released from supervision
  • You have a summary offense, and were free of arrest or conviction for 5 years following the date of conviction
  • No disposition was ever received or recorded by the repository within 18 months (proof must be submitted)
  • The court has ordered expungement
  • You are at least 21 years of age and have been convicted of a violation under Section 6308 (relating to the illegal transport or sale of alcohol) and have satisfied all the terms of sentencing, then the court will issue an order to expunge your record.
  • A record can be expunged 3 years after the individual has been deceased.

Step 2 – Obtaining a background check

After determining whether you are eligible to have your record expunged, you must obtain a background check from the Pennsylvania State Police. It takes about 2-4 weeks to receive the results. This background check must be included with the petition that is filed with the court. Without the background check, the clerk of the court may rule the petition as deficient.

Step 3 – Filing the necessary filings with the Court

Filing the necessary paperwork with the court in Pennsylvania will consist of the petition, a proposed Order, a verification form, a certificate of service, a background check, along with any other additional documentation that you feel is necessary. In the case of expungement for an aggravated assault, the defendant must fill out the 790 petition form (which is specific to misdemeanors and felonies). Additionally, a filing fee of $147.00 must accompany the petition.

Step 4 – Service on the District Attorney’s Office

After filing the petition with the court, you must serve the paperwork on the District Attorney’s Office that initially prosecuted the case. In certain counties, the clerk of the court will serve the petition on your behalf, but this should be confirmed prior to filing.

Step 5 – Response from the District Attorney’s Office

After the petition and accompanying documents is served upon the Pennsylvania District Attorney’s Office, they will have the chance to decide whether or not they will consent or object to the request for expungement. Generally, the District Attorney’s Offices in Pennsylvania has 30 days from the date of service to make their decision.

If the District Attorney’s Office reaches a decision where they object, a contested hearing will have to be held where testimony, evidence, and defense must be presented as to why the Judge should grant the order of expungement.

Step 6 – Distributing the Order of Expungement

The Order for expungment can be granted by the judge without the need for hearing if the District Attorney’s office consents. Regardless how the order was granted, the next step is for the expungement orders to be forwarded to all necessary law enforcement, court, and government agencies.

The entire expungement process typically takes 4 – 6 months under most circumstances. This means that your criminal record should be cleared by all law enforcement, court, and government agencies within the 4 – 6 month time frame.

Importance of an Attorney

The expungement process requires that you file documents with the court, follow strict procedural rules and present evidence to support the expungement. In order to best represent yourself, you need the experience of a seasoned expungement lawyer. The attorneys at DiCindio Law have significant experience trying expungement cases in Pennsylvania. Contact the experience attorneys at DiCindio Law today!

Understanding Underage DUI in Pennsylvania

Many teens and young adults look forward to turning 21 so that they can start drinking alcohol. Some teens and adults who are under the age of 21 simply don’t wait and begin drinking while they are still too young. If you drink alcohol and then get behind the wheel of your car, you may be charged with a DUI even if you are not impaired and even if your BAC is below the state’s legal limit for adults of 0.08%.
The DUI laws are harsher for minors in Pennsylvania because they are likelier to be involved in crashes than more experienced drivers. To prevent people who are younger than 21 from drunk driving in the state, the laws are stricter for this age group. DiCindio Law is experienced in handling underage DUI cases and can help you to understand what to expect. Here is an overview of how underage DUI cases are handled in Pennsylvania.

Lower BAC limit for younger drivers

For adults in the state of Pennsylvania, the legal blood alcohol concentration limit is 0.08%. If you are younger than age 21, however, the legal limit is much lower. If you are younger than age 21, the legal limit at which you can be charged with a DUI is 0.02%. People who are younger than age 21 may be convicted of DUIs if they have any traceable amount of alcohol in their systems. This means that you could be convicted of a DUI even if you only had one drink if you are under age 21.

What are the penalties for an underage DUI?

The penalties for underage drinking and driving are harsher than they are for adults. Three main types of penalties exist for people who are convicted of underage DUIs, including time in jail, fines, and a suspension of driving privileges. If your BAC was 0.10% or higher, you could see substantial jail time depending on what number offense this is. If you are a repeat offender, you may spend time in jail while also losing your license for a long time.

Pennsylvania has a three-tier penalty system for DUI offenses that depends on the BAC levels of the people who are convicted. However, if you are underage, you will automatically face the penalties for a high BAC DUI even if you only had trace amounts of alcohol in your bloodstream. For a first offense, this means that you could have to pay a fine of $500 to $5,000 and could have your license suspended for a year.

If you are younger than age 18 when you are convicted of a DUI offense, your case will fall under the Pennsylvania Juvenile Act. You may be institutionalized, be forced to pay a fine, and be placed on probation. If you are 18 but younger than age 21, you may face the following penalties for a first-offense underage DUI:

  • Mandatory minimum jail time of 48 hours
  • Fine ranging from $500 to $5,000
  • Alcohol safety school
  • Other penalties such as treatment or community service

An underage DUI conviction also carries some collateral consequences beyond the legal penalties. If you have a criminal record, it could prevent you from obtaining some types of public and private scholarships. If you are already enrolled in and are attending college, your university may have its own disciplinary system for you, including a potential suspension from the college, being placed on probation at the college, or potentially being expelled.

Expungement of an underage DUI

For most people, a DUI cannot be expunged until they reach age 70 or have died. If you are granted entry into a diversionary court program for first offenders, you will be permitted to have your record expunged upon successful completion of the program. Expunging your underage DUI removes it from your criminal record. As soon as you have satisfied the conditions of the program, you are able to immediately petition the court for an expungement. This is important for you if you want to go to college and are getting ready to apply. Some colleges require that their students have clean criminal records before they are admitted and then to maintain clean records while they are attending. Expunging your DUI conviction can help you to gain admission into the college or university that you want to attend and to be eligible for more public and private scholarships.

Can an underage DUI case be won?

It is possible for you to win your underage DUI case at a trial, but it will depend on the facts of your case. An attorney may review what occurred and advise you on whether it makes sense to take it to trial.
A criminal defense lawyer at DiCindio Law may also be able to negotiate with the prosecutor to reduce your charges through a favorable plea agreement. If you are facing an underage DUI charge, it is important for you to consult with an experienced criminal defense lawyer before you just plead guilty. An attorney may be able to identify potential defenses that you could raise and help you to build a strong defense case. An attorney may also be able to secure a better plea bargain on your behalf by negotiating with the prosecuting attorney who is assigned to your case.

Getting an underage DUI charge can have long-lasting consequences. It is important for you to talk to an attorney at DiCindio Law if you are facing this charge or have already completed your sentence and want to get an expungement. Contact us today to schedule an evaluation of your case.

The information you obtain at this site is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. You should consult an attorney for advice regarding your individual situation. We invite you to contact us and welcome your calls, letters and electronic mail. Contacting us does not create an attorney-client relationship. Please do not send any confidential information to us until such time as an attorney-client relationship has been established.

Michael D. DiCindio, Esq. is a West Chester criminal defense lawyer and personal injury attorney who represents individuals accused of crimes or injured by the negligence of others throughout all of Chester County, including West Chester, Phoenixville, Malvern, Coatesville, Paoli, Downingtown, Tredyffrin, West Goshen, Honey Brook, Oxford, Devon, Pottstown, Chesterbrook, Parkesburg, Kennett Square, and Avondale

DiCindio Law, LLC opens newly renovated West Chester Office

DiCindio Law, LLC opens newly renovated West Chester Office building.

Located in downtown West Chester, Chester County, Pennsylvania and built in 1900 – the firm’s building has undergone a top to bottom renovation/restoration with the idea of preserving and repairing the building to the beauty it once was and providing Mike’s client’s with a comfortable and accessible office location and atmosphere.

Mike DiCindio looks forward to continuing to serve his current and future client’s for years to come at this new location.

West Chester Criminal Lawyer and West Chester Personal Injury Lawyer



Underage Drinking Expungement

Underage Drinking Expungement

When someone has been convicted of an Underage Drinking offense it may have harmful consequences their future, their job prospects, their educational prospects and/or any licenses and certifications they may seek to obtain.

What many people do not know is that upon turning 21, if the sentence has been completed in full, including the license suspension, they are entitled to an expungement of the Underage Drinking conviction under Pennsylvania law.

West Chester Criminal Defense Lawyer
West Chester Criminal Defense Lawyer Mike DiCindio

Expungements are very commonly misunderstood. Many people believe that expungement’s are done immediately and automatically – they believe that as soon as the case is closed it is expunged. Instead, while they may be entitled or eligible for an expungement, a petition for expungement still must be filed.

Other people often mistakenly believe that upon turning 21 the case is immediately and automatically expunged – also not true.

Anyone who is now 21 has was charged and convicted with underage drinking offense is now entitled to an expungement in Pennsylvania if all conditions of their sentence/punishment have been fulfilled.

Contact DiCindio Law to begin the process of clearing your record today.

The above listed information does not include the entire crimes code, annotations, amendments or any recent changes that may be relevant.  The information provided is for informational purposes only and may not reflect the most current legal developments.  These materials are not intended, and should not be taken, as legal advice on any particular set of facts or circumstances.  It is intended solely for informational purposes.

Michael D. DiCindio, Esq. is a West Chester criminal defense lawyer who represents individuals accused of crimes throughout all of Chester County, including West Chester, Phoenixville, Malvern, Coatesville, Paoli, Downingtown, Tredyffrin, West Goshen, Honey Brook, Oxford, Devon, Pottstown, Chesterbrook, Parkesburg, Kennett Square, and Avondale

I finished the ARD program, is my expungement finished too?

Many people who are charged with first offense DUI cases are accepted into the ARD program in the county in which they were arrested. While they may be aware of it, often times upon completion of the program, these individuals do not proceed to have the records expunged. In turn, they are left with records of their DUI arrest and entry into the ARD program on their criminal record. A successful expungement would erase that, leaving only limited agencies who are permitted to retain them.

Common occurrences – individuals either believe that the records of their ARD participation and completion were automatically expunged, or they believe their previous attorney expunged it for them. When often times neither is the case.

When Choosing a Criminal Defense Attorney
An expungement should be filed on DUI / ARD cases that are successfully completed.

The expungement procedure/process involves filing required documents, a petition and a proposed order with the Court. As a part of the proposed order, a list of agencies and departments is included. Usually including all of the Courts involved in the case, the central repository, the police departments involved and any other agencies that may have access to the records or case information. If the expungement is granted by the Court, the agencies will be sent the certified order and will be directed to expunge the records. (In some counties the clerk of courts sends the orders, in others the individual or his/her attorney does).   Depending on the Court dockets, the number of petitions submitted, and the procedure of the county in which the petition is filed, expungement orders may take many months to be presented to the Court and signed.  Making it crucial to prepare and file the expungement quickly after successful completion of the ARD program.

Expungement of an DUI ARD is something that should be taken seriously and followed through on. Any chance someone has to clear their criminal history of arrests or prosecutions will be beneficial to them in their future searches for employment, housing and many other vital portions of their life.

If you have an outstanding DUI ARD case that has yet to be expunged. Contact West Chester criminal lawyer Michael DiCindio to discuss your options today.


The above listed information does not include the entire crimes code, annotations, amendments or any recent changes that may be relevant.  The information provided is for informational purposes only and may not reflect the most current legal developments.  These materials are not intended, and should not be taken, as legal advice on any particular set of facts or circumstances.  It is intended solely for informational purposes.

Michael DiCindio is a West Chester criminal defense lawyer who represents individuals accused of crimes throughout all of Chester County, including West Chester, Phoenixville, Malvern, Coatesville, Paoli, Downingtown, Tredyffrin, West Goshen, Honey Brook, Oxford, Devon, Pottstown, Chesterbrook, Parkesburg, Kennett Square, and Avondale.