The wait can be agonizing at times, especially for those who have experienced the difficulties that a criminal record can present. Whether it’s a job, a college education, a mortgage, or a military career you are seeking, it may be necessary to work with an attorney to expunge your prior convictions before your goals can become reality.
Expungement of a Juvenile Record
How long you must wait to apply for an expungement in Pennsylvania depends on the type and nature of your criminal records. Certain serious offenses, such as murder, rape, or similar sex crimes, cannot be expunged. However, if your conviction was finalized before you turned 18 and you were convicted in juvenile and not adult court, a Pennsylvania attorney can petition the court to erase your entire juvenile—and accordingly criminal—record under one or more following circumstances:
- You were never convicted of the offense because there was no evidence against you or the case 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.
- You are older than 18, the prosecutor has agreed to expungement, and the court has considered the following factors:
- Type of offense
- Employment history
- Drug and alcohol abuse
- The burden of your record
- 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 support of the prosecuting attorney, which can drastically cut down on the time you must wait to expunge the conviction. With a prosecutor’s support, you may only have to wait six months after completing your supervision to apply for expungement, but without it, you may have to wait five years to do so.
Expungement of a Non-Juvenile Conviction
It is much easier to expunge a juvenile conviction in Pennsylvania than a non-juvenile conviction. With the help of an experienced attorney, however, it is still possible to expunge an adult conviction. Expungement of an adult offense is generally only available if the conviction was a summary offense, you received an “accelerated rehabilitative disposition (ARD),” the charges or case was dismissed, or you are older than 70 and have been arrest-free for at least 10 years. Expungement for less serious offenses, such as non-violent misdemeanors, however, are available five to 10 years after conviction depending on the nature of the offense. It is important to contact a Pennsylvania criminal defense and expungement lawyer to determine your eligibility.
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 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.