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Summary Offense

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I have a summary offense. Will it show up in a criminal record check? Is it a crime? Can I get it expunged? If I can get it expunged, what are the rules?

Summaries are consider “non-traffic summary offenses.” Therefore, they are NOT crimes. However, they DO show up in a criminal record check. Therefore, you should do everything you can to plea not guilty to any summaries. Also, if you have a summary conviction, you should get it expunged as soon as possible.

To get a summary expunged, in general, you must wait five years. The decision on whether to grant this expungement is up to the judge. You do not have a right to get it expunged. Also, there is an exception to the rule if you were charged with a summary and alcohol was the basis of the summary. In that case, you may be able to apply for the expungement before the five years is up.

Also, if you were not convicted of a summary, the summary “arrest” will still appear on a criminal record check. There is no such thing as an “automatic expungement.” In many counties the court staff tells people who accept a diversion program that once the program is completed, the arrest will be automatically expunged. This is not true. The arrest will still be there in a criminal record check and you must still get it expunged.

If you took a diversion program, or were found not guilty, you do not have to wait five years. You can get it expunged right away.

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