I've never had any run-ins with the law (and don't intend to again - I'm actually in law school, believe it or not). I had been told by colleagues that this will stay with me for ten years, but will I now have a criminal record for the rest of my life? It's extremely embarrassing and I'm afraid for my future career. Who would want to retain an attorney when the first thing they see when they search my name is a criminal record! I've tried to look up relevant statutes but DUI law is a bit confusing and far over my head.
You have not included how and if your case has concluded. Assuming that it has been disposed of, if it has through ARD, you can petition for expungement after the ARD is completed. If this was a guilty plea to a misdemeanor, misdemeanors, like felonies, are not expungeable. If the petition to expunge is granted, most all of the traces of this arrest will be destroyed. However, PennDOT will keep your record for ten years or else if you were arrested again in that ten years, the new arrest would be considered a second offense.
Probability and criminal record aren't the same thing. I could have a DUI 20 years ago on my criminal record, but if I got another one today, it'd be consider a first offense because it's not within the 10 years.
Does that explain the confusion?
I am licensed attorney who focuses on Serious DUI Cases such a 2nd DUIs, 3rd DUIs, 4th DUIs, and Felony DUIs and DMV hearings. I also have much experience handling car accident cases. Although the information I provide is helpful, it is not legal advice. Although Avvo makes it clear to consumers that attorney answers to questions are for general purposes only and do not establish an attorney-client relationship, some attorneys prefer to add their own disclaimers to answers. You can set your custom disclaimer here and it will be automatically added to your answers. Do NOT include any direct solicitations or contact information.
Ms. Mertz is correct, if you are/were eligible for ARD you would also be eligible for an expungement. After expungement, the criminal record is erased from law enforcement databases. The Penndot record, however, will remain for ten years. Expungement also does not change any unofficial records, such as newspaper reports or police blotters, internet articles, etc. As a law student, unfortunately you may have repercussions when applying for the Bar. You have to report all arrests, expunged or not, on your Character and Fitness application. You would be well served to consult with an attorney well versed in ethical issues to determine how to address this in the future. Your Ethics professor may be able to recommend someone.
This is not intended as individual legal advice and there is no attorney client relationship established by this answer. It is advisable that you seek individualized legal assistance. This is not a substitute for hiring an attorney.
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