Expungement is a process for clearing a person's name. When a person is arrested or charged with a crime, a publicly accessible record will be created. This will come up during any and all background checks that a person may be subjected to for any reason. One solution to this, of course, is filing for an expungement, provided that a person has met all of the state's requirements for a successful expungement. While many individuals who have outstanding records are aware that an expungement can help, many are confused about what this process actually means for their records once all is said and done.
Does My Record Exist After Expungement?
When a record is expunged, it is removed from public access, and all information regarding the incident is deleted. This means that a person's criminal records will be inaccessible, and nothing will be found during a standard background check. However, some information will be preserved regarding the incident for legal use only. This means that prior records, though expunged, may come up once more if a person is arrested again, or involved in any criminal matters once more.
What Does This Mean?
While the average job a person is applying for will not have access to the expunged records, professions such as law enforcement or other authoritative positions may delve deeper into a person's history. In addition, under most circumstances, a person will be able to choose "no" when asked if they have been convicted of a crime before on an application.
What If My Record Was Sealed Under Limited Access?
Individuals who have had more serious charges placed against them may need to go through Pennsylvania's new limited access process for sealing records. This method is used for individuals who have had records pertaining to certain 2nd and 3rd-degree misdemeanors. Similarly to obtaining an expungement, a person must also meet certain criteria to have their records sealed under limited access processes.
When a person has their records sealed, however, it will be similar to an expungement. Background checking agencies will no longer be able to access a person's records. Although the general public may not access these records, much like an expungement, a record sealed through Pennsylvania's limited access laws will still be accessible by certain state licensing agencies, as well as law enforcement.
Pennsylvania Expungement Attorney
When a person wishes to obtain an expungement, it may be helpful to seek out the guidance of an attorney. While an individual is able to file a motion without the aid of an attorney, the process can be complicated, and any errors can mean having to start from the beginning. An attorney can conduct the filing and make sure that the motion moves smoothly through the court system.