Criminal Expungement In Pennsylvania

February 25, 2020

Criminal Expungement In Pennsylvania

Even if you are back in civilian life, once you have a criminal record, your day-to-day changes drastically. You may find that employment is harder to come by, you feel ostracized by others and you have the constant stress of that record looming over you, even if the crime was committed years ago.

In some cases, your record may be expunged in Pennsylvania–but not in every case. That’s why it’s important to know the process and the facts of criminal expungement in Pennsylvania. 

Criminal Expungement, a Definition

The American Bar Association defines expungement as, “the process by which a record of criminal conviction is destroyed or sealed from state or federal record. An expungement order directs the court to treat the criminal conviction as if it had never occurred, essentially removing it from a defendant’s criminal record as well as, ideally, the public record.”

However, it’s important to note that expungement is not forgiveness for committing the crime as that is known as a legal pardon. A public official will grant pardons whereas an expungement is a legal proceeding ordered by the judge or court. 

The Pennsylvania State Police details the entire criminal expungement process, which an attorney can also guide you through. 

Where Will the Records Be Removed?

If your expungement is granted, your criminal record is removed as if the crime never occurred. However, just because your record is sealed doesn’t mean it is forgotten. 

Expungement does not remove records from the media, Google, social media and in some cases, arrest reports outside of the court’s purview. Also, if court records exist outside the court’s jurisdiction, those documents will still exist. 

In the case Nilson v. Layton City it explains that, 

“An expungement order does not privatize criminal activity. While it removes a particular arrest and/or conviction from an individual criminal record, the underlying object of expungement remains public. Court records and police blotters permanently document the expunged incident, and those officials integrally involved retain knowledge of the event. An expunged arrest and/or conviction is never truly removed from the public record and thus is not entitled to privacy protection.”

Crimes That Cannot Be Expunged

In Pennsylvania, there are certain crimes that cannot be expunged. The most common is sex crimes against minors. The law prohibits courts from expunging records when the individual has been charged in sex crimes against victims under 18. 

Your DNA may also only be expunged in certain cases such as being arrested by mistake or if the case against you was dismissed or reversed. 

Juvenile Record Expungement

In the Keystone state, some juvenile records can be expunged under specific circumstances, so long as you fall into one of five categories:

  • Six months have passed since the completion of an informal adjustment and no arbitration is pending
  • Six months have passed since your final discharge from a supervision program and no conviction is pending
  • You are 18 years old or older, six months have passed since all terms of the conviction were satisfied and you were not convicted of a felony, misdemeanor or adjudicated delinquent; and you have no pending charge of delinquency, misdemeanor, or felony
  • Five years have passed from your final discharge and you have not been convicted of a felony or misdemeanor; and there are no pending charges of delinquency, misdemeanor, or felony against you
  • The District Attorney agreed to the expungement after reviewing the offense type, your age, and employment as well as any additional criminal activity, drug or alcohol problems, or any adverse consequences you may face if you are not granted an expungement of the records, so long as the public safety is not at risk 

If you have a criminal record and believe that you’ve served your time and are now facing adverse effects on your reputation and livelihood, you need the guidance of a Scranton criminal defense attorney.

You Deserve a Clean Slate. Contact the Criminal Defense Attorneys of Mazzoni Karam Petorak & Valvano Today.

The time to act is now. Contact the Scranton criminal defense attorneys at Mazzoni Karam Petorak & Valvano today for a free consultation.

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