Despite overwhelming bipartisan support from Michigan's House and Senate, Governor Gretchen Whitmer recently vetoed an expungement reform bill that would have allowed past offenders to petition for an expungement of their first drunk driving offense. The bill allowed law enforcement to have access to the expunged record. It also prohibited the expungement of subsequent DUI offenses and DUI offenses leading to death or serious injury. Despite these safeguards, however, Governor Whitmer vetoed the bill without comment or explanation.
The governor's veto demonstrates the ongoing debate that exists when it comes to expungement reform. While legislators see the need to put time limits on the punitive aspects of criminal convictions, there also is concern that creating more pathways for DUI expungement only serves to encourage more people to drive drunk.
What Is An Expungement Exactly?
An expungement is a legal way of destroying your criminal record so that no one can see it, not even law enforcement or a judge. If the court has fully expunged your record, the expunged offenses no longer show up on background checks, and you no longer have to disclose the conviction on employment or housing applications.
Does Pennsylvania Allow For DUI Expungement?
Yes, if the court did not convict you for DUI and instead placed you in the Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition ("ARD") program, your DUI arrest is eligible for expungement as soon as you complete the program.
If you were not placed ARD, the court will likely grant your expunge petition if:
- You are 70 years old, and there have been no arrests, prosecution or criminal proceedings, or criminal supervision in the preceding 10 years,
- You were convicted of a summary offense related to a DUI matter, and you have been arrest-free for the five years following your conviction and sentence (although DUI charges in Pennsylvania will always be graded a misdemeanors, or felonies in some instances, for example, perhaps the DUI charge was dismissed and the defendant instead pleaded guilty to a reckless drivng charge), or
- You are requesting an expungement posthumously, and the person whose record you are trying to clear has been dead for 3 years.
Can a DUI offense be expunged from my driving record as well?
A conviction of a DUI offense in PA creates two records — a criminal record and a Department of Motor Vehicle ("DMV") record. Insurance companies use the DMV record to determine auto insurance rates. The state uses your DMV record to keep track of the points you receive for driving offenses. An accumulation of a certain number of points can lead to fines and/or license suspension. Although PA law does allow for the expungement of your criminal DUI record, your DMV cannot be expunged.
Should I hire a lawyer to help expunge my record?
Mistakes from the past can have lasting effects on your future, particularly if those mistakes involve an arrest or criminal conviction on your record. By clearing your record, you can make sure that your past doesn't continue to impact your future. Attorney Joseph D. Lento has extensive experience pursuing avenues to clear his client's criminal records. If you are ready to clear your PA record, call the Lento Law Firm at (888) 535-5336 today.