Q: I have never gotten in trouble before, perfectly clean record. No speeding tickets, traffic tickets, or anything. However, the other day I ended up getting picked up for public intoxication. I walked into an apartment building which I initially thought was mine and alarms went off. Once I realized the alarms were going off I stepped outside and sat on the steps and waited. I did not want to make it appear that I was doing anything malicious, so I sat and waited for the police to come. I was completely cooperative and nice to the police. I understood that they were just doing that job and I was making that clear. Looking over my citation, there is no docket number or total due amount. I’m just wondering what exactly this means. Also, is there any possible way that the MDJ could possibly just void the citation? I’m just hoping to keep it off my record. I have done research and I understand that ARD programs could solve this, but I plan on asking about my options at the MDJ and don’t plan on fighting the case. (Brentwood, PA)
A: If you have a pristine record, I can understand your concern. If convicted, this non-traffic summary offense will stay on your record for five years before you can pay an attorney to expunge it. An experienced attorney can guide you on how to get this charge withdrawn. You may have to do something in exchange like community service or a drug and alcohol evaluation. Frankly, if you are so intoxicated that you walked into the wrong building, you may need this. In today’s gun-crazed stand-your-ground world, you could have been riddled with bullets from an AR-15. Also, even if this summary citation is withdrawn, you will have to expunge the record of its issuance. Until you do, the records will still exist for all inquiring minds to find. I would try to have it withdrawn instead of burning your ARD card now. It is nice to keep the ARD option for future use, especially if you do not stop drinking.