No. 115 January Term, 1979, Appeal from the Order of the Superior Court dated November 17, 1978, at No. 1741 October Term, 1977.
Gary B. Gilman, Asst. Public Defender, Stuart Wilder, Asst. Public Defender, for appellant.
Stephen B. Harris, Asst. Dist. Atty., Michael S. Goodwin, Doylestown, for appellee.
Roberts, Nix, Larsen, Flaherty, Kauffman and Wilkinson, JJ. O'Brien, C. J., did not participate in the consideration or decision of this case.
The issue presented by this appeal is whether a person who successfully completes an Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition Program ("ARD") is entitled to have his or her record of arrest expunged.*fn1 For the reasons that follow, we
conclude that the policy considerations underlying ARD mandate that unless the Commonwealth demonstrates an overriding societal interest in retaining that record, expungement must be granted. Accordingly, we reverse and remand to the Court of Common Pleas of Bucks County.
Appellant, Regina Armstrong, was arrested on February 1, 1976, and charged with attempted theft by deception.*fn2 She was thereafter photographed and fingerprinted by the Middletown Township Police Department, and a record was made of her arrest.
On May 6, 1976, prior to her trial, the District Attorney of Bucks County selected appellant, a first offender, to participate in ARD. She successfully completed the program with payment of court costs on December 28, 1976, and on January 4, 1977, the District Attorney requested and was given leave by the court to nolle pros the information filed against her.
On March 16, 1977, appellant petitioned the Bucks County Court of Common Pleas to expunge her arrest record.*fn3 The only evidence presented at the expungement hearing revealed that appellant, who has never been convicted of any criminal offense, was employed as a part time file clerk at the Trenton Neighborhood Health Center in Trenton, New Jersey; that her take home pay was approximately $85.00 biweekly; that she had been employed at the Health Center for one and one-half years and was "first in ...