Frequently Asked Questions About Expungement
A criminal record can hinder you long after your sentence has been served. A prior conviction can make it much harder to get a job, a good place to live or access to higher education and federal student aid. The good news is that a stain on your criminal record doesn’t always have to be permanent. Below are answers to frequently asked questions about expungement.
What Is An Expungement?
Expungement is essentially an opportunity to clear your record — at least partially. According to Pennsylvania Law, 18 Pa.C.S. § 9122, under limited circumstances individuals may be granted permission to purge criminal records from the files of the Department of Court Records, Criminal Division and similar agencies.
Why Should A Record Be Expunged?
People have many reasons for seeking to get rid of a criminal record, but passing a background check is among the most common. In Pennsylvania, many job applicants and volunteering applicants need to pass Act 33/34 background checks. Act 33 investigates any history of child abuse, while Act 34 applies to criminal convictions generally. Passing these background checks are also necessary to qualify for bonding or to obtain a gun permit.
Until or unless you are granted a motion for expungement by the Courts of Common Pleas, your criminal history is matter of public record.
Which Records Are Expungeable?
If you were convicted of a summary offense, you can expunge the record of that conviction after five years, assuming you have stayed free of arrest or additional prosecution during that time.
You can also petition to expunge non-convictions from your record. These include cases that ended in:
- Withdrawal of charges
- Dismissal of charges (nolle prosequi)
- A not-guilty verdict
- Accelerated rehabilitative disposition
- Probation without verdict (a way for first-time drug offenders to avoid conviction)
Do I Need A Pardon Instead?
Some convictions require a pardon request to clear your record. Call our office for a consultation to see what action is right for you. For information on Applications for Clemency in Pennsylvania go to https://www.bop.pa.gov/Pages/default.aspx
Want To Learn If You Can Clear Your Record? Let Us Help.
Attorney McInroy can help you navigate the legal process of expungement. Alternatively, if you were convicted of a criminal offense and are ineligible to have your records expunged, you may still be eligible for a pardon. To learn more about your legal options, contact The Law Office of Geoffrey McInroy, LLC, by calling 717-540-6833 to schedule a consultation.