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Expungement Process in PA

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Is Record Expungement Possible in Pennsylvania?

Information on getting a clean record after being arrested or charged with a crime

A person who is charged with a crime or arrested may still have a criminal record, even if they were not convicted or took part in a rehabilitative program as part of a plea.

Your criminal record is visible for anyone doing a simple background check, which can limit your opportunities for employment, financing, housing and college. It can also limit other civic liberties like joining the military, owning a gun and your legal immigration status.

However, depending on the crime committed and the number of offenses on your record, it is possible to have a legal order that destroys, seals and removes the record from public view so that potential employers or anyone running a background check can not see your criminal history.

The legal order also restricts access to your criminal record from law-enforcement agencies.

This legal order is called expungement. An experienced criminal attorney can help you determine whether it is worth petitioning the court for expungement and can help you with any legal filings and hearings that may arise.

Call Attorney Saadzoi today to get a free legal case evaluation.

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What is Expungement?

Expungement means having a record that is concealed.

Under Pennsylvania Law, 18 Pa.C.S. § 9122 certain persons may obtain permission to have their criminal records removed from the files of criminal justice agencies in Pennsylvania.

Unless you petition the court for your criminal history to be expunged, it will remain in public records.

Expungement prevents the general public from seeing your criminal activity during a routine background check, like an Act 33/34 clearance.

Even if you are not convicted, you will have a criminal record unless you petition the court for an expungement of your criminal record.

When you petition the court for an expungement, you are requesting a permanent removal of your arrest and/or conviction from your record. This will “seal” your record.

Who is Eligible for Expungement?

If you were convicted of a crime like DUI in Delaware County or a summary offense, or if you have a juvenile record, you may be able to have your criminal record wiped clean, or “expunged”.

It may be especially important to have your record expunged if you are or plan to be a certified professional or a CDL holder. Depending on your career, your professional license may be at risk if you have a criminal history.

Read more information about your professional license and a DUI or criminal record.

If you are granted expungement of your criminal record, you can answer honestly “No” to the question “Have you ever been arrested or convicted of a crime?” Your record will show no criminal history.

Types of crimes generally eligible for expungement in Pennsylvania:

  • A summary offense conviction after five years have passed, if the defendant has remained free of arrest or prosecution during that time;
  • First-time DUI;
  • Underage drinking offenses;
  • First-time drug offenses;
  • Violation of probation cases without verdict;
  • If a person is over 70 years of age with no arrests in the past 10 years;
  • If a person obtains a pardon they qualify for expungement.

Lawmakers have also added to Pennsylvania Law, 18 Pa.C.S. §9122.1, which allows some misdemeanor offenses to be expunged after 10 years.

To seek expungement of a misdemeanor in Pennsylvania the following must apply:

  • It must be a second or third degree, non-violent misdemeanor offense;
  • Offender cannot have any other criminal charges in the past 10 years;
  • Cannot be convicted of an offense punishable by more than two years in prison.

If you are wondering whether your criminal history can be concealed, speak to a Pennsylvania expungement attorney.

Don’t Let a Criminal Record Burden You Forever

Call Criminal Expungement Attorney Wana Saadzoi 
Free Legal Case Evaluations

Process for Criminal Expungement in Pennsylvania

There is a process for having your arrest or criminal record expunged.

This process can be tedious and it is best to have an expungement attorney to help you with the paperwork and filings.

All criminal records remain public until a petition for expungement is filed and granted by the courts. The petition must be filed in the same county where the case occurred.

All the correct paperwork must be filed and correctly, or your petition will be rejected. This is why it is recommended to speak to an attorney about filing the petition on your behalf.

You will generally be granted a hearing to determine if expungement is appropriate in your case. If that happens, you will have to provide an argument to the court and they have the option of denying the expungement.

It can take weeks for your record to be expunged.

The PA Code Rule 790 Procedure for Obtaining Expungement in Court Cases; Expungement Order states that within sixty days of filing the petition, “the attorney for the Commonwealth shall file a consent or objection to the petition or take no action.”

Under PA Code Rule 490 Procedure for Obtaining Expungement in Summary Cases; Expungement Order “the attorney for the Commonwealth shall file a consent or objection to the petition or take no action” within 30 days.

After the petition is filed, the Delaware county district attorney’s office can challenge the petition and request a hearing before a judge, who will decide the case for expungement of your criminal background.

If the district attorney’s office does not object, then the expungement is generally granted without a court hearing.

If you have a juvenile criminal record, you may also be able to have that expunged.

An experienced attorney can play a pivotal role in whether or not you still have a public criminal record.

An experienced criminal defense attorney can help you through the process.

Don’t Let a Criminal Record Burden You Forever

Call Criminal Expungement Attorney Wana Saadzoi 
Free Legal Case Evaluations

Why Have My Criminal Record Expunged?

If you are planning on looking for employment or going to college, having a criminal record of any sort could affect the decision-making process. A criminal record can hurt your future and in general cause a burden.

If you are a U.S. Visa holder or are waiting for U.S. citizenship, your legal immigration status may also be affected.

A criminal record tarnishes your reputation and weighs you down. Don’t let a criminal record affect your opportunities and self-esteem.

A qualified and experienced expungement attorney in Pennsylvania can be of great help throughout the expungement process.

Get a free case evaluation today.

Non-Convictions and Expungement in Pennsylvania

Criminal record expungement for a non-conviction is automatic in Pennsylvania after 18 months, but in the meantime, your criminal history will show up in background checks.

This means applying for jobs, financing, housing or colleges / universities may be a hassle.

If you have to look for employment or apply to colleges before those 18 months, an expungement attorney can help you file a court order to have your record expunged sooner.

Non-convictions include a not-guilty verdict, withdrawal of the charges, a case dismissal or nolle prosequi (do not prosecute).

Expungement and ARD

Even if you win in court and are not convicted of a crime, you may still need to file a motion with the court to have your record expunged.

The Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (ARD) Program in Pennsylvania is a probationary program primarily for first time offenders who have been charged with either a DUI or drug crime or summary offense.

Even though it is not a conviction, you may still have a criminal record, even after successful completion of the program.

The ARD program allows your criminal record to be expunged after satisfactory completion so you can have a clean criminal record again.

However, the charges will remain on your record until the charges are expunged, which does not happen automatically.

There is a process for expungement in Delaware county after successful completion of the ARD program in order to for your record to be sealed.

You must fulfill all of the requirements of the ARD program in order to qualify.

Don’t Let a Criminal Record Burden You Forever

Call Criminal Expungement Attorney Wana Saadzoi 
Free Legal Case Evaluations

How Can Saadzoi Law Help?

Everyone makes mistakes and we know that. But we also believe people deserve a second chance and having a permanent criminal record can hinder a true second chance from ever happening.

That is why we will do what it takes to have your criminal history expunged. We want you to succeed in life and we know you can, but a clean record can help.

We will work with you to understand your case fully and file the motions needed and follow-up necessary for the best chance of court approval.

Attorney Saadzoi has spent time on both sides of the law as a prosecutor and a public defender. As your lawyer, she will work aggressively to have your record expunged.

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