Erasing your criminal record can significantly benefit your life, particularly when it comes to getting a new job, applying for school, and taking similar actions. However, there are specific requirements and limitations within the criminal expungement process in Pennsylvania, which can make the process intimidating and even unavailable to certain individuals.
At McKenzie Law Firm, P.C., we represent Pennsylvania citizens who face criminal charges and those who received a conviction and are wondering what their legal options are. If you are interested in exploring your ability to expunge an arrest or conviction from your record, a criminal defense lawyer from our firm can help. We offer free consultations 24/7.
Our Criminal Attorney Can Help You Navigate the Expungement Process
In Pennsylvania, 18 Pa. C.S.A. § 9122 outlines a citizen’s ability to permanently remove arrest and conviction information from their criminal records when they meet certain conditions. Petitioning for expungement can be crucial in protecting your future livelihood, so it is vital to take this process seriously.
When you retain McKenzie Law Firm, P.C., to help you get your record expunged, our legal team will:
- Explain which convictions are eligible for expungement
- Identify whether you qualify for this process under Pennsylvania law
- Walk you through each phase, ensuring that you fulfill all requirements
- Outline what to expect during the court proceedings
- Support and advocate for you each step of the way
Getting your criminal record expunged can be a freeing experience, bringing you much relief and hope for the future. We want to help you achieve this by ensuring you have all the information and support you need to complete the process.
Qualifying Conditions Must be Met to Have Your Criminal Record Expunged in PA
You and your record must meet specific conditions to qualify for record expungement. For example, certain crimes cannot be expunged in Pennsylvania, such as first-degree felonies.
In general, only the following can be successfully expunged from your criminal record:
- Non-convictions in which the case resulted in a not-guilty verdict, withdrawal, dismissal, or nolle prosequi
- Convictions related to underage drinking when you were at least 18 years old (You must be at least 21 years old and comply with all court requirements regarding the conviction before you qualify for expungement.)
- Summary offenses, if at least five years have passed with no additional arrests or convictions, or you successfully completed a diversion program.
You may also qualify if you have reached 70 years of age and have been arrest-free for a minimum of 10 years. In all cases, you must have no outstanding fines or court costs to complete the process.
Community Legal Services of Philadelphia (CLS) provides a helpful flowchart for determining who can request criminal record expungement. It also outlines who is eligible for a petitioned or automatic record sealing, which may be a viable alternative.
Petitioning for Record Expungement with the County of Arrest
To have your record expunged, you must file a petition with the Clerk of Courts in the Pennsylvania county where you were arrested or received your charges. The first step is requesting your official arrest record from the Pennsylvania State Police (PSP). You will need to submit this document to the Clerk of Courts to file your petition.
Initiating the expungement process involves the following steps:
- Print and fill out the form to obtain your arrest record.
- Mail the completed form, along with a copy of your photo ID and a check made out to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania for the correct amount. A legal affidavit may be necessary in some cases.
- You will receive a copy of your arrest record, which you must then take to the appropriate Clerk of Court’s office.
- Request a petition for expungement at the Clerk of Court’s office.
The next steps can vary by county, but our team can help you through them. Overall, your petition will go before a Commonwealth Court judge, who will review your case and decide whether to issue and sign a court order for expungement.
If your petition gets approved, the Clerk of Courts will deliver the signed court order for expungement to the PSP, who will then expunge the record.
Alternatives to Criminal Record Expungement in Pennsylvania
If you don’t qualify to have your criminal record expunged, there may be other steps you can take to protect this information. Namely, you could have your record sealed. In Pennsylvania, certain individuals qualify for automatic record sealing under the Clean Slate Act. Otherwise, you could file a petition to request this.
It’s important to note that sealing your record is not the same as expungement, as the information still appears in your criminal history. This process only limits who can access this information when pulling your criminal record. For example, prospective employers and other members of the public will not be able to request your sealed records.
What it’s Like Working with Our Criminal Defense Team
With a former prosecutor leading our firm, we have the knowledge and resources to help clients navigate the Pennsylvania criminal justice system. This includes assisting with petitions for record expungement and sealing when these options are available.
At McKenzie Law Firm, P.C., we provide various communication options, so you always have access to your defense attorney. When we represent you, you can reach out via email, phone call, text message, and even over social media at your convenience. This level of service is just one reason why we’ve received honors such as:
- The AV Preeminent Martindale-Hubbell Lawyer Rating
- A spot among the Top 40 Lawyers Under 40 from the National Trial Lawyers
- A Rising Star designation from Super Lawyers
Contact Our Firm for Help with Expunging Your Record or Fighting Criminal Charges
Our team serves clients in multiple areas throughout the state, including those in Montgomery County. Let us put our knowledge and resources to work for you as you consider criminal expungement in Pennsylvania.
Complimentary, confidential consultations are available with our team at any time. Call McKenzie Law Firm, P.C., at (610) 991-7219 now.