Expungement in Pennsylvania

Having a conviction for a misdemeanor or felony on a criminal record can pose many problems for an individual throughout life. Someone with a criminal history may experience difficulty finding employment and housing, and a criminal record may hold other negative implications for the future. Fortunately, in some circumstances, expungement may provide an individual with the ability to remove a crime from his or her criminal history. Our criminal defense attorneys can help you with the expungement process in Bethlehem, Stroudsburg, Palmerton, and Pittston.

What is expungement?

As defined by Pennsylvania Law 18 Pa. Section 9122, there are some cases in which an individual is permitted to remove criminal histories from the Department of Court Records, Criminal Division, and other agencies. Expungement essentially removes the crime, or crimes, from his or her record. After an expungement of a crime on a person’s record occurs, the crime will not show up on background checks. In most cases, an expungement is reserved for things such as DUIs or traffic violations, although there are some exceptions to this standard.

Why You Need an Expungement

People seek expungement in Pennsylvania for a variety of reasons. Most commonly, an expungement is sought by those who are applying for a job in which a criminal history would harm their chances of being selected for the position. In some cases, a criminal history also will hinder a person’s ability to receive a gun permit, obtain housing, get accepted into higher education programs or even volunteer.

Depending upon the severity of the crime and the circumstances surrounding it, a person may be able to have his or her criminal record expunged in Pennsylvania.

The Expungement Process

Not everyone is eligible to have a crime expunged from his or her criminal record; rather, there are three primary types of expungement, and each has its own type of eligibility requirements.

The three types of expungement in Pennsylvania are:

  • Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (ARD) expungement, in which the successful completion of an ARD will result in the defendant’s record being expunged, according to Pennsylvania Code Rule 320;
  • expungement in summary cases; and
  • expungement in court cases.

Within each one of these types of expungement, a person who wishes to file for an expungement of his or her criminal record may be able to do so only if he or she has met certain requirements, such as paying all costs in full.

If a person wishes to file a petition for an expungement, he or she first will need to locate certain records. Next, the individual will need to fill out and file a petition form, which costs $75 to file in the state of Pennsylvania. The expungement process typically is lengthy and can take months to complete.

ARM Lawyers Can Help

If you are seeking an expungement for a misdemeanor or crime that appears on your criminal record, a Stroudsburg, Bethlehem, Palmerton, or Pittston expungement lawyer can help. If you want to clear your name and start fresh with a clean criminal record, you should contact the attorneys at ARM Lawyers today.