It depends on the county but in Philadelphia even after completing ARD or similar program you may still have to go through the expungement process to ensure your arrest photo and fingerprint records are destroyed.
If you are 18 years and you have been found guilty of a summary offense retail theft, you CAN apply for an expungement after 5 years. I have not heard of summary offense being automatically expunged. However, if you get into a program like ARD or some other alternative program you might be able to get your record expunged automatically.
Answered by lawyer Michael Kotik.
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In Philadelphia, ARD is supposed to automatically expunge the arrest after you have successfully completed the program. There are some similar alternative programs. However, I often find that it is not expunged automatically and that a petition needs to be filed to fix that. If you were not in a program, you need to wait 5 years to file an expungement. If you are arrest free for those 5 years, the chances of it being expunged is excellent.
Michael L. Doyle