Whether you were arrested or charged and not convicted, or charged and have since paid your debt to society, you could still be reaping consequences just by having the event on your public criminal record. Arrests, charges, and convictions appear on background checks for important thing like housing, education, and employment, and could prevent you from qualifying. This is where the process of record sealing and expungement becomes important.
Record sealing and record expungement are often lumped together, but are actually very different processes – especially in Pennsylvania. Record sealing is when your records are sealed from public view and can only be accessed in certain circumstances. Record expungement is when all records but one of your arrest and/or charge are destroyed, and the one remaining is only for law enforcement agency use.
Pennsylvania does now offer record sealing, and expungement is offered in a few specific circumstances. An experienced defense attorney will be able to help you determine your eligibility and assist you through the process.
Philadelphia Record Expungement Attorney
Joseph Lento founded Lento Law Firm based on the principle of providing personal service to people in need of legal help. If you are wondering if your arrest record or completed conviction is eligible for expungement in Pennsylvania, Joseph Lento will assess your case and guide you through the process.
With nearly a decade of experience as a criminal defense attorney, he will make expunging your criminal record as easy for you as possible. For your free consultation, call the attorneys of Lento Law Firm at (215) 535-5353 today.
Pennsylvania Record Expungement Information Center
- Determining Record Expungement Eligibility
- Juvenile Record Expungement
- Expungement of DNA Records
- Resources for Pennsylvania Record Expungement
Determining Record Expungement Eligibility
"Can I have my criminal record sealed" is a question that is often asked. Pennsylvania law does outline circumstances in which record expungement is allowed, primarily governed by statute in 18 Pa.C.S. §9122 and Pa.R.Crim.P. 320.
These circumstances may cause automatic expungement or require administrative action, and include:
- Court order for the removal of arrest-only and other non-conviction data
- Conviction was for a summary offense and defendant has not been arrested or prosecuted for five years
- Defendant successfully completed his or her Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (ARD) program
- Defendant committed a violation related to the illegal transportation, consumption, possession, or purchase of alcohol when he or she was over 18 but under 21, is now 21, and has met all his or her conviction requirements
- Defendant is 70 years or older and has had no other arrest or prosecution for 10 years beyond release from supervision of the court
- Person has been deceased for three years or longer
In addition to defining eligible circumstances for Philadelphia record expungement, these statutes also explicitly ban the expungement of records involving a violation of any of these offenses with an underage victim:
- Sexual Assault
- Statutory Sexual Assault
- Involuntary Deviate Sexual Intercourse
- Indecent Assault
- Aggravated Indecent Assault
- Indecent Exposure
- Sexual materials and performances
Juvenile Record Expungement
Pennsylvania also allows juvenile records to be expunged under specific circumstances, including summary offenses. This is governed under 18 Pa.C.S. §9123 and include the following stipulations:
- Six months have passed since the person has successfully completed and informal adjustment and no adjudication proceeding is pending
- Six months have elapsed since the final discharge of the individual from supervision under a diversion program or consent decree and no conviction or adjudication is pending
- Individual is 18 years old or older and
- Six months have passed since he or she satisfied all terms and conditions of a summary conviction committed while under the age of 18
- He or she has not been convicted of a felony or misdemeanor, or adjudicated delinquent
- He or she has no pending charge of delinquency, misdemeanor, or felony
- Five years have passed since the individual's final discharge from disposition and referral and
- Individual has not since been adjudicated delinquent or convicted of a felony or misdemeanor
- There are no pending charges of delinquency, misdemeanor, or felony against the individual
- The District Attorney agrees to the expunction after considering the following:
- Offense type
- Age, employment history, criminal activity, and alcohol or drug problems of the individual
- Adverse consequences not granting the record expungement will cause
- Whether public safety is at risk if record is not retained
Expungement of DNA Records
The expungement of Pennsylvania DNA records is covered by Title 44, Section 2321 of Pennsylvania law. Under this part of the code, expunction of DNA evidence is allowed in the following circumstances:
- Sample was included in DNA bank by mistake
- Case against individual is dismissed
- Case against individual is reversed
In these instance, the individual may request the expungement of all of his or her DNA records. However, this law does not cover cases where the individual is in prison or was in prison for specific case types, like sexual offenses, occurring before July 27, 1995.
Resources for Pennsylvania Record Expungement
Pennsylvania Code on Criminal Records – This link goes directly to Chapter 195, the section of the Pennsylvania Code governing criminal records. You can compare the details of your case directly to the law to determine if your case may be eligible for expunction.
Access to Criminal History in PA – For a fee, you can access yours or a loved one's criminal record at this link to see what is showing up on background checks.
Working with an Experienced Pennsylvania Criminal Record Expungement Lawyer
If you have an arrest or conviction record and are looking to move forward with your future, record expunction could be the key to your success. Joseph Lento of Lento Law Firm is committed to providing customized, personal service to you and your case while guiding you through the process of determining if your records are eligible and then having them expunged.
To get the process started, call Lento Law Firm at (215) 535-5353 today to set up your free initial case consultation.