Daily Record reporter Emily Opilo was working on a story about York city council members with criminal backgrounds.
Emily apparently has become the go-to reporter for people snitching on office holders with something to hide in their backgrounds.
I had an “oops” moment when Emily said she found court documents on councilman Henry Nixon’s 1984 DUI charge at York County Archives. Henry had told Emily he was sure that record had been expunged.
My hesitation was because I have been writing for years that defendants who successfully complete the district attorney’s Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition program can have their records easily expunged.
Because of Emily’s find in the archives, I thought I was going to have to apologize to YDR readers.
ARD is pretrial diversionary program that can keep you out of jail. You only get to use it one time, so don’t waste it. But if you rack up other serious criminal charges before using it, it probably won’t do you any good to apply.
I found out , though, that expungement of ARD cases is almost automatic. After completing your ARD requirements, your probation officer will fill out a dismissal application and send it to you.
Here is where it could get difficult for some people.
You, as the lawbreaker who wants your charge dismissed and your record expunged, have to sign the dismissal application, get the document notarized and send it back to your probation officer.
After that, it is pretty much in the hands of clerks, judges and others in the criminal justice system to get the document authorized, and sent on to various record keepers who have your name and transgression in their often public files, directing them to remove that information.
Unfortunately for Henry, according to the state crimes code, this has only been in practice since 1989.
Prior to that, it apparently was up to you, as the defendant, to get the expungement paperwork moving.
If you can’t recall doing that, or paying a fee to have your record expunged, it probably isn’t.
Maybe you want to check on that.