Upon completing ARD the District Attorney's office will dismiss the charges filed against you. As a result you can legally state, on a job application etc., that you have never been convicted of a crime.
Expungement refers to erasing the record that you were arrested for, and charged with, a criminal offense. Thus, after expungement, if someone were to run a criminal background check on you it would come back blank. Prior to expungement, there will be a record that shows you were charged with a criminal offense and it will either state that the charges are pending - or after ARD completion that the charges were dismissed.
It is important to note that different counties handle expungement differently. Some, like Allegheny County will automatically file the expungement order when you complete ARD. However, some counties will require you to file a separate expungment request with the Court. You should always speak to an experienced attorney to find out how this works in your county.
License suspension is generally reduced in DUI cases.
If you are convicted of a first offense DUI, you are likely looking at a 6 month suspension (for tier II .10 to .159 bac) or a 1 year suspension (for tier III .160 and over bac). Although a Tier I first offense (.08 to .99 bac) carries no suspension.
Under the ARD program, tier I also carries no suspension, Tier II carries 30 days and Tier III carries 60 days. However, if you are a minor under the age of 21 ARD will carry 90 day suspension. Thus, under ARD you will never have a longer suspension and will usually have a far shorter suspension than if convicted. However, CDL holders should be aware that even under ARD their CDL will be suspended for 12 months.
ARD usually entails a non-reporting probation which means you do not have to have regular contact with your probation officer and will have fewer restrictions placed upon you regarding travel etc. In fact, most counties will allow out of state residents to take any necessary classes near home but not have probation supervision transferred to their home state.
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