Expungement in Pennsylvania
What is expungement?
Expungement not only removes a person’s criminal record from public view but also restricts access by law-enforcement agencies to a person’s criminal record. Expungement basically “erases” your criminal record.
Am I eligible to have my criminal record expunged?
A Court may Order the expungement of your record if:
1. All offenses resulted in nonconviction (i.e. charges were dismissed/withdrawn/nolle prossed; not guilty verdict); or
2. You successfully completed “ARD” (Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition); or
3. You were convicted of a summary offense and you have not been arrested for 5 or more years; or
4. You are over the age of 70 and have not been arrested for at least 10 years; or
5. The individual died at least 3 years ago; or
6. You receive a pardon from the governor of PA.
What is the expungement process?
A petition must be filed in the county where the charge(s) was/were filed. This may mean multiple counties if an individual wishes to expunge more than one eligible charge.
Once an expungement petition is filed, the District Attorney’s Office has the right to oppose the petition and request a hearing before a Judge. If the District Attorney’s Office does not oppose the petition, the expungement is usually granted without a court hearing.
Is it true that if my charges were dismissed or I was found not guilty, I don’t need to expunge my record?
Not true! Even if your charges were dismissed/withdrawn/nolle prossed or you were found not guilty, those charges are still available for the world to see online.
Significantly, even though you were not convicted of a crime, those charges may still impact your ability to secure a job and even rent an apartment.
What is the difference between expungement and limited access to criminal records?
Expungement removes a criminal conviction from a person’s record. It is erased. Limiting the access to a person’s criminal record means that the general public will no longer be able to see the criminal record. However, a person’s criminal record is still available to certain offices such as law-enforcement agencies and state licensing agencies. For example, if you are applying for an apartment, the landlord will not have access to your criminal record. On the other hand, if you are applying for a government job, the government agency will be able to view your criminal record.
Am I eligible for limited access to my criminal record?
Pennsylvania law was amended on November 14, 2016 to provide limited access of criminal records for some misdemeanor convictions. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.
What is the process for limited access to a criminal record?
Similar to expungement, a petition must be filed in the county where the charge(s) was/were filed. The District Attorney may object to the petition and request a hearing before a Judge.
Why is expungement and limiting access to a criminal record important?
If you have ever been charged with or convicted of a crime, you know first-hand how difficult it is to get a job, qualify for certain housing, financial aid, etc. Expungement or limiting access to your criminal record could alleviate many of these hardships.
How do I get started?
Call us today at 215-643- 9000 to schedule an appointment. It’s time to take your life back.