How Will an Expungement Help or Hurt You With Background Checks?

When a person has a criminal record, it can preclude them from entry into certain jobs, educational opportunities, and even housing. A criminal record is a hindrance to a person's quality of life. One of the terms a person may hear is "expungement." Expungement is a form of relief for those who have faced criminal charges in the past to clear their name within the state.

What Is Expungement?

Expungement is a legal motion filed with the County Court of Common Pleas where the initial arrest or charges were made. This filing is done at the courthouse and carries its own fees associated with the motion. Expungement is possible for both juvenile and adult records, however, a person must meet the state's eligibility requirements in order to expunge their records. There are different requirements for both adults and juveniles. Furthermore, each jurisdiction in Pennsylvania may have separate processes, filing methods, and fees associated with the expungement motion. On rare occasions, the court may wish for a person to defend their motion in court.

How Does Expungement Affect My Pennsylvania Criminal Records?

Expungement functions by cleansing a person's records of the associated records. After a successful expungement motion, a person's records are left effectively clear of any incident for a majority of background checks. The exception to these cases is any background check for positions in agencies such as the FBI or other position of higher authority. These positions, by their nature, require a delve that goes a bit further into a person's background, so they may have access to person's expunged records.

Is Expungement the Same as Sealing My Records?

Expungement is one of many ways that a person may clear their name within the state of Pennsylvania. The method a person should use for clearing their name depends heavily on their situation. Pennsylvania has another method for clearing a person's name known as record sealing, which makes use of the state's "limited access" laws. Instead of expunging or clearing the records, a person who has their records sealed will still have records in a county, but background checking agencies will be prevented from accessing these records.

Expungement is commonly used for lower leveled offenses such as summary offenses, or incidents when a person is able to participate in an ARD (Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition) program. Record Sealing is a newer process that allows a person to seal away records of more serious offenses, such as 2nd and 3rd-degree misdemeanor convictions.

Do I Need an Attorney for My Expungement?

Some individuals may be capable of conducting the filing for an expungement on their own, however, the process can be complex and frustrating for most. Any errors in a filing can delay a person's path to moving on with their life. For this reason, it can be much more beneficial to consult with an attorney for these filings.

If you or a loved one is seeking an expungement in Pennsylvania, contact attorney Joseph D. Lento today.

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Attorney Joseph D. Lento has nearly a decade of experience successfully resolving clients' criminal charges in Philadelphia and the Pennsylvania counties. If you are having any uncertainties about what the future may hold for you or a loved one, contact the Lento Law Firm today! Criminal defense attorney Joseph D. Lento will go above and beyond the needs of any client, and will fight until the final bell rings.

This website was created only for general information purposes. It is not intended to be construed as legal advice for any situation. Only a direct consultation with a licensed Pennsylvania and New Jersey attorney can provide you with formal legal counsel based on the unique details surrounding your situation. The pages on this website may contain links and contact information for third party organizations – the Lento Law Firm does not necessarily endorse these organizations nor the materials contained on their website. The decision to hire an attorney in Philadelphia, the Pennsylvania counties, or New Jersey should not be made solely on the strength of an advertisement. We invite you to contact the Lento Law Firm directly to inquire about our specific qualifications and experience. Communicating with the Lento Law Firm by email, phone, or fax does not create an attorney-client relationship. The Lento Law Firm will serve as your official legal counsel upon a formal agreement from both parties. Any information sent to the Lento Law Firm before an attorney-client relationship is made is done on a non-confidential basis.

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