A criminal record has impactful and lasting consequences. Not long after creating one, people find out just how much an even seemingly minor criminal conviction on their record affects their life. Even after serving a sentence, offenders face a world with severely limited possibilities, stripped rights, and a haunting social stigma. A mere google search is all it takes to discover individuals who've been arrested and weren't even convicted but had their charges dismissed. The hard truth is, any involvement with law enforcement can and will follow you forever. Fortunately, Pennsylvania has established a way for defendants to truly put the past behind them.
Offenders can clear their criminal record in Pennsylvania by way of expungement. If successfully completed, the expungement process will completely remove all records that you were charged, arrested, and/or convicted of a crime. Although that sounds like really good news, the state hasn't made things very easy for offenders. The expungement process is lengthy and is notorious for having pretty limited qualifications. But if you qualify, it can drastically improve the quality of your life and increase your chances of professional success in the long run.
Here is an overview of the circumstances in which a criminal charge may be expunged in Pennsylvania:
- You're over the age of 70 with no arrests for 10 years
- The criminal offense being expunged is a summary offense, and you have not been arrested in five years
- You've successfully completed the ARD program or probation
- If your charges have been dismissed, withdrawn, or resulted in a “not guilty” verdict
- You have been dead for at least three years
Yes, you read that right, the state of Pennsylvania won't even expunge the record of a dead person right away. But those are the current laws that we must abide by. It's important to note that even if you meet one of these conditions, it doesn't guarantee that your expungement will be successful. The District Attorney's Office has the discretion to reject your petition if they feel it is necessary. But that doesn't happen often.
On a positive note, if you meet any of the conditions above, with the help of an attorney, you can count on the courts to grant your expungement and get all records associated with a criminal conviction destroyed. To learn more about the process, don't hesitate to contact a skilled attorney today.
Pennsylvania Expungement Attorney
The process of expunging a criminal charge can be complicated. Not to mention that there is a myriad of steps to take in Pennsylvania before an offense can be successfully expunged. If you have been convicted of a crime that you think is eligible for removal, contact experienced and skilled attorney Joseph D. Lento to help you make plans for your future. He's helped expedite and smooth the process for people who've acquired all sorts of criminal charges, and he can do the same for you.