In the legal field, the term “expungement” literally means to cancel or “blot out” a criminal record. There are only certain circumstances under which a portion, or even all, of your record can be expunged, but if you were convicted as a juvenile, charged but never convicted of a crime, or your conviction was overturned, it is important to contact a Pennsylvania criminal defense attorney to discuss your options.

Benefits of Petitioning for Expungement

For those with a criminal record, you understand that this can greatly limit your ability to get a job, volunteer, enter certain career fields, get into college, receive financial aid and public assistance, qualify for public housing, own a gun, and vote.  Even older convictions may prevent you from pursuing certain interests, as some employers and colleges simply have a policy of rejecting all applicants with a criminal background, regardless of the circumstances. By applying for expungement of your juvenile record or for expungement of a particular arrest or conviction, if the judge grants your petition, that information will be permanently removed from your criminal record and not be viewable by employers or universities.

Expungement of a Juvenile Record

If your complete criminal record was established before you turned 18, in Pennsylvania, an attorney can petition the court to erase your entire juvenile, and accordingly criminal, record. Expungement, however, is not automatically granted; you must petition for it under one or more of the following circumstances:

  • You were never convicted of the offense because there was no evidence against you or it was dismissed;
  • It has been six months since final discharge from supervision, you have the consent of the prosecutor, and no criminal charges are pending;
  • Five years have passed since final discharge and no further charges have been filed or are pending; or
  • You are over 18, the prosecutor has agreed to expungement, and the court has considered the following factors:
  1. Type of offense;
  2. Age;
  3. Employment history;
  4. Drug and alcohol abuse;
  5. The burden of your record; and
  6. Public safety.

If the petition is granted, the judge will order that your entire juvenile criminal record be erased, but it helps to have the permission and support of the prosecuting attorney. Your criminal defense attorney can contact the prosecutor on your behalf to assist in this process.

Expungement of a Non-Juvenile Conviction

It is much easier to expunge a juvenile conviction in Pennsylvania than a non-juvenile conviction, but it is still possible with the help of an experienced attorney. Expungement is generally available for adult offenses if the conviction was a summary offense, you received an “accelerated rehabilitative disposition (ARD),” the charges or case was dismissed, or you are over the age of 70 and have been arrest-free for at least 10 years.

Contact Philadelphia Expungement Attorney Brian Zeiger

If you have questions or believe you may be entitled to expungement of your criminal record, contact Attorney Brian Zeiger. He can work to review the specific facts of your case and help petition the court on your behalf. Contact him today at 215-546-0340 or online for a confidential, no-risk consultation.

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