When a person commits a crime in Pennsylvania, they can receive a criminal record. These are public, thus impacting a person’s reputation and future. Oftentimes, this can make it difficult to receive an education, a job, loans, housing, and more. The state of Pennsylvania understands how difficult this can be, which is why the opportunity for expungement is offered as long as the individual meets certain criteria. During this time, it is important to retain the services of an experienced Pennsylvania criminal defense attorney for assistance.
What is Expungement?
The process of expungement is when a person who is charged with or found guilty of a crime in the state of Pennsylvania asks the court to remove certain arrests or convictions from their record. Once this is done, the record may only be seen by specific agencies, such as federal authorities. This can provide the individual with a fresh start and a clean slate. However, it is important to understand that not just anyone can have their record expunged. There are only certain records that can be expunged.
How Can I Get My Record Expunged in Pennsylvania?
In the state of Pennsylvania, a person can have their record expunged in the event of the following circumstances:
- There is a court-ordered removal of arrest and non-conviction data
- The individual has a clean record for five years after a conviction for a summary offense
- The individual successfully completed an Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition Program
- The individual met the conviction requirements after an underage alcohol conviction
- The individual is 70 years or older with a clean record for 10 years after release from supervision
When filing for expungement, there are two different types of forms a person may use to file a petition. For summary offenses, also known as violations or infractions, a form pursuant to Criminal Procedure Code section 490 can be used. Those convicted of a misdemeanor or felony can use the form pursuant to Criminal Procedure Code 790. Once the petition is filed, a hearing can be scheduled before a judge to determine if expungement will be granted. During this time, the judge will consider the following:
- Any damage to the individual’s reputation
- Their livelihood and future earnings capacity
- The nature of the offense
- The individual’s prior criminal history
- If the record should be preserved to protect the public
It is important to know that Pennsylvania law prohibits the courts from expunging a record for certain sexual assault or related offenses against victims under 18 years old. In the event that a judge agrees to expunge an individual’s record, they can create an expungement order.
Contact our Firm
Attorney Newman has represented clients in Pennsylvania for over 45 years. If you need an experienced attorney to help guide you through the personal injury claims process or with any criminal defense matters, Attorney Newman is ready to help. Contact The Law Office of Neal E. Newman today to schedule a consultation.