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How can a person who completed the ARD program in Pennsylvania verify that their records have been expunged?


In Pennsylvania you can seek expungement of your record. According to Pennsylvania Law, Title 18 of the PA Consolidated Statutes Chapter 91 (9122), certain circumstances allow individuals to obtain permission to remove their names from the files of the Clerk of Courts' and other criminal justice system agencies through them being expunged.

A person's court case normally remains a matter of public record until a petition for expungement is filed in the Clerk of Courts Office and is subsequently granted by an order of court from an Administrative Judge. If your case resulted in a guilty verdict, your only chance for expungement is to obtain a Governor's pardon.

Any person found not-guilty of a crime has the right to petition the court for an expungement, regardless of the offense. Defendants may also move to expunge their records if the charges against them were dismissed, suspended, or nolle prossed.

The Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (ARD) and Probation Without Verdict as well as other programs offer expungement as part of the plea bargain package. For these programs, an expungement for a first time offender occurs automatically when all fines are paid and the program is successfully completed. The exception is ARD participants prior to 1989; these parties must file a petition to expunge.

In most cases you must contact the Clerk of Courts Office to see if your record has been expunged and/or if you need written proof and a certified copy of the expungement order. Once the judge grants the expungement, the Clerk of Courts eliminates your name and case file from its system.

The appropriate record-keeping agencies (Adult Probation, Behavior Clinic, Bureau of Criminal Investigations, District Attorney, District Magistrate, the PA State Police, and the Sheriff) are notified. It takes these agencies at least six (6) weeks to purge your records from the system.

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