Unfortunately, drug charges do not disappear from your record, even if you have served time.
To start off with a clean slate, you will have to take action and get old charges expunged, or removed from your record.
Checking your criminal record
First, you should know what is on your record. Even drug charges brought to you as a minor can follow you into adulthood. For $10, you can either access your record through Pennsylvania’s online PATCH system or request a mailed record through an application to the Pennsylvania State Police Central Repository.
Qualifying for expungement
In most cases, only drug charges that did not result in a conviction qualify for expungement. Additionally, you must have a clean record for five years after the incident to qualify. Some non-violent misdemeanors may qualify for limited expungement, where the convictions stay hidden from public record if you have had a clean record for at least 10 years. Law enforcement would still have access to this information, but you would not have to disclose your conviction to others.
Seeking a pardon
If you need a misdemeanor or felony expunged from your record, you may need a pardon from the governor of Pennsylvania first. However, a pardon is difficult to obtain and has an extensive application process. A pardon does not expunge the conviction from your record, either. It only makes your conviction eligible for expungement. Without a pardon, expungement of a felony is only allowed if you are over 70 years old and have a clean record or if the defendant died at least three years ago.
Understanding the laws concerning expungement can help you figure out if you can remove old drug charges from your record.