When a person is charged with a crime, many times, an attorney will able to negotiate the charges down to a lower offense. Negotiating to lower charges is a strategy employed in many courtrooms, especially if the evidence is stacked strongly against a defendant. Sometimes, the option of accepting a lower offense is favorable to taking a gamble on strongly opposing evidence in the courtroom. In Pennsylvania, one strategy is to negotiate with the prosecutor to assign the defendant a summary offense.
What is a Summary Offense?
A summary offense is an offense level below a misdemeanor. In other states, they may be known as disorderly person's offenses or ordinance violations. While a majority of the time, summary offenses are not very serious acts, they still constitute as violations of the law, and convictions as well. Many job applications, however, are less likely to ask if a person has been convicted of a summary offense in the initial application stage.
Although a summary offense does count as a criminal conviction, they are typically treated much less seriously and have far less severe sentencing protocols than a misdemeanor or a felony. One of the other advantages to pleading to a summary offense is that a summary offense conviction is much more easily expunged when compared to a misdemeanor conviction.
How Can I Expunge a Summary Offense in Pennsylvania?
Summary offenses can be expunged much more quickly than a standard felony or misdemeanor offense. When a person wishes to expunge their summary offense, the following must apply to their situation:
- At least 5 years have passed since their conviction
- The defendant has completed their assigned sentencing
- In addition to the repayment of fines, all associated court costs have been paid
- The defendant is not currently facing any additional charges
Pennsylvania Expungement Attorney
When a person wishes to file for an expungement of a summary offense, they may find themselves in a confusing and difficult situation. filing for an expungement is a somewhat lengthy process that can be daunting for an individual that is unfamiliar with the court system. Although a defendant is more than capable of attempting to file on their own, they may not receive adequate guidance on the process from the court's employees. This can lead to frustration, and if filing is done incorrectly, delays. A person may have to start from the beginning if any errors are found.
An attorney conducting the filing for a person may be much more helpful. an attorney will already be familiar with court processes and can file the expungement paperwork without error, as well as monitor its status with the court to ensure the motion moves quickly. If you or a loved one is seeking an expungement in Pennsylvania, contact attorney Joseph D. Lento today.