Clearing The Path Forward
Clearing the path to the future begins with analyzing exactly what is in your criminal history record information (arrest records, criminal offenses, minor offenses). Criminal charges without dispositions, misdemeanors without criminal convictions, misdemeanor convictions, and felony convictions are all handled differently. That is why everything begins with getting a PA criminal record report. Then, we can determine what can be cleared with expungements, record-sealing, and pardons and can work to clear your PA criminal record.
Expungements in PA
Expungements can be filed under the authority of Pennsylvania’s expungement statute – 18 PACSA 9122. This statute contains a list of what can be erased through the filing of an expungement petition. It is NOT meant to erase misdemeanor or felony convictions, which must be reviewed for possible record-sealing or applying for a pardon. We are currently running a limited-time 10% discount for pre-paid expungements (this discount applies to all June Board of Pardons recommended pardons).
EXPUNGEMENT PETITIONS & WHAT THEY CAN ERASE
- Summary Expungement in PA: This petition erases a summary conviction from someone’s record. House Bill 1543 creates the right to expunge a single summary offense when five years have elapsed since the date of conviction – when there is no criminal prosecutions for the following five years. The most issued summary citations that affect young people are retail theft, harassment, disorderly conduct and public drunkenness – these would all be eligible for expungement after five years.
- Juvenile Record Expungement in PA: This petition is filed to remove juvenile court prosecutions for misdemeanors or felonies after the offender turns 18 (with the consent of the District Attorney), or after five years, with no intervening criminal conduct. See our post about clearing a juvenile’s criminal record in PA.
- ARD Expungement in PA: Some crimes, like Driving Under the Influence (1st offense) are put into a program called ARD. ARD allows someone to do probation without conviction. Since there is not a conviction, after successful completion of the program, the criminal history showing that the crime was charged can be erased.
- Section 17 Expungement in PA: Section 17 is a special diversionary program, much like ARD. It allows one to complete probation without a conviction. It is typically presented for possession of marijuana or paraphernalia. If you received a Section 17 disposition, your record can be cleared.
- Charges that were withdrawn, dismissed or Nol-prossed in PA: Charges that were brought that did not result in a conviction may still be on your criminal history record information report. These may be eligible for expungement.
- Limited Expungement – Record Sealing in PA: Act 5 of 2015 allows smaller non-violent misdemeanors can be ‘sealed’ after 10 years of law-abiding behavior with certain limitations. While the police will be able to see the convictions, they do not have to be disclosed to employers and employers should not be able to find them.
- Convictions if you are over 70 years of age in PA: Seniors do NOT have to go through the Pardon process. Any felony or misdemeanor conviction can be expunged if there has been no criminal supervision in the preceding 10 years.
- Charges that have been pardoned in PA: If you have received a Pardon from the Governor of Pennsylvania, the charges become expungeable.
Pardons in Pennsylvania offer individuals with criminal convictions a pathway to have their criminal conduct officially forgiven. A pardon is a constitutional procedure overseen by the Pennsylvania Board of Pardons, allowing for the removal or erasure of misdemeanor or felony convictions from an individual’s criminal history. The process involves several crucial steps along the way.
To gain insights into the details of the pardon process and its various stages, including the importance of the public session hearing, you can explore our post on the difference between pardons and expungements in Pennsylvania. Additionally, you can contact our Pennsylvania pardon attorney for expert assistance in navigating the pardon process.
Read more about getting a pardon in Pennsylvania and frequently asked questions (FAQs) for a comprehensive guide on navigating the pardon application process in Pennsylvania.
PA Expungement FAQs
- Who is eligible for expungements in Pennsylvania?
Many people are eligible. Specifically:
- Those with charges that were dismissed, withdrawn or nol-prossed
- Those with a summary conviction
- Those with juvenile records
- Those with ARD dispositions
- Those with a ‘Section 17’ disposition
- Those who are over 70
- Those who have been dead for three years
- Those with underage consumption convictions
- Those with convictions that have been pardoned
- What are the exclusions for expungement under ARD?
Someone who received ARD for one of the following offenses may
not have the record expunged if the victim is under the age of 18.
- Section 3121 (relating to rape).
- Section 3122.1 (relating to statutory sexual assault).
- Section 3123 (relating to involuntary deviate sexual intercourse).
- Section 3124.1 (relating to sexual assault).
- Section 3125 (relating to aggravated indecent assault).
- Section 3126 (relating to indecent assault).
- Section 3127 (relating to indecent exposure).
- Section 5902(b) (relating to prostitution and related offenses).
- Section 5903 (relating to obscene and other sexual materials and performances).
- How long does an expungement take in PA?
Pennsylvania expungements can be filed at the County Court level. The petition can be prepared and filed within 30 day period of time, the Court may take 30 days to review it, the District Attorneys may wish to take a position on the petition. Once the Court signs the Order, it must be circulated to the appropriate agencies, who are supposed to respond within 30 days, although they are currently backlogged.
- Is the expungement guaranteed?
No. Depending on which expungement is applicable, the PA District Attorney’s office may support the expungement, or oppose the expungement, or ask for a hearing after which the Court decides. Don’t go at it alone. We can help you!
- How much does it cost to apply (file) for an expungement in Pennsylvania?
The rates vary depending on the services required, but can be quoted by email or a phone call.Contact Us
- Can you help with record expungement in Pennsylvania?
Yes. Find out about our criminal record erasing services here.
- What criminal charges can't be expunged from my record?
It is NOT meant to erase misdemeanor or felony convictions, which must be reviewed for possible record-sealing or applying for a pardon. The governor must pardon misdemeanor and felony convictions of guilt before they can be expunged unless you are over the age of 70.
- Will I have to appear in court to expunge my criminal record in PA?
Most expungements are NOT contested by the Commonwealth and so are not scheduled for court – no attorney needs to appear and no client needs to appear. Some counties are so big that they schedule cases for a hearing, but are then resolved when the District Attorney has a chance to read the petition and agree. A few cases are scheduled for hearings and require an appearance, but less than 5% in our experience.
- Do I need to pay off court fees and fines for my criminal record to be expunged?
Yes, you should look up your criminal record to see if you owe any court expenses. Fines and costs should be paid before an expungement is filed.
- Will my expunged record show up on a PA background check?
An expunged record will NOT show up on a background check – PA state police remove it, and so it should be removed from everyone’s database. That is the purpose of expungement. It won’t be found during a standard background check run by potential employers, landlords, volunteer groups, or other similar organizations. Get in contact with an expungement attorney today.
- Do I have to disclose my expunged record in PA?
In PA, you are not required to disclose that you had a prior criminal record.
- Who can see expunged criminal records in PA?
PennDOT keeps certain records about DUI on the motor vehicle record, but the criminal record will be deleted from everywhere.
- Where do I go to get my record expunged?
Expungement Petitions are filed in the County where the conduct occurred.