Criminal charges and convictions in Pennsylvania exist forever in police or court records until expunged. If you apply for a job or a loan, certain companies might ask for permission to review your criminal record or driving record. The information contained in your criminal record or traffic record can have a profound effect on your life. You might have difficulty obtaining certain jobs, you might be unable to obtain affordable auto insurance, and you might not even be unable to obtain a loan to buy a house or a car due to a past arrest or conviction. But the Pennsylvania record expungement law gives you options.
Our criminal defense attorneys handle expungement cases, including cases resolved through the ARD program in Pennsylvania. We believe everyone deserves a second chance.
What is Record Expungement?
Expungement is a legal term that describes clearing a person’s criminal or traffic record. After a record is expunged, no one conducting a background check or a review of your record can find your criminal history. In certain instances, you might even be able to have past arrests erased from your criminal record. As a result, a criminal background check will not reveal your arrest/conviction. In addition, you may be eligible for expungement if you have appealed your conviction and the conviction was overturned by an appeals court. Many different possibilities exist. Arrange a consultation with Mazzoni Karam Petorak & Valvano today to learn more.
Is it Difficult to Have a Criminal Record Expunged in Pennsylvania?
Yes, and many rules and regulations apply in Pennsylvania to have your criminal record cleared. Specifically, you must file a request for expungement with the court that has jurisdiction over criminal records in your county. In most cases, that’s the Court of Common Pleas.
The expungement process often takes approximately 6 to 9 months to complete. There are many restrictions on applying to have your criminal record expunged. This includes:
- Requiring 5 years to pass since you have last been charged with any criminal proceedings.
- The subject of the record has been dead for at least 3 years.
- No disposition of any cases involving you occurring in the past 18 months.
- There are no pending criminal proceedings against you.
Criminal Expungement Process
The Pennsylvania State Police handle the criminal expungement process. Though simple enough to complete, it is important to ensure you’ve prepared and have met the requirements listed above. In addition, you will need to do the following:
- 1. Fill out and print form SP 4-170.
- 2. Mail the form to the Central Repository along with the fee, a copy of your ID, and a legal affidavit or letter of representation (if needed).
Once you receive your arrest record from the Central Repository, you will have to follow up with the Clerk of Courts in the county where your arrest took place. Then you receive instructions on how to petition the court for expungement.
Your record is expunged after the State Police receive a court order signed by a Commonwealth Court judge to do so.
“What Do I Need to Do to Have My Traffic Record Expunged?”
Like the process for having a criminal record cleared, the traffic record expungement process in Pennsylvania can be complicated. Some of the most frustrating cases we deal with involve the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) refusing to expunge traffic violations, such as a drunk driving conviction, for first-time offenders who have successfully completed the state’s Accelerated Rehabilitation Diversion (ARD) program. It can be difficult simply knowing where to file the proper paperwork to begin your traffic record expungement in Pennsylvania. You might even receive conflicting answers from state and local officials. Don’t waste time filling out the wrong form or submitting the wrong paperwork with the wrong government office. Get the experienced legal assistance you deserve for your complicated case. Contact our law firm right now.
“How can a lawyer help me with my criminal record expungement?”
There are many benefits to having your criminal record or traffic record expunged in Pennsylvania. But the process itself can often be confusing, time-consuming, and frustrating if you try to go it alone. Our experienced attorneys know exactly how the system works and have successfully helped many people have their records permanently erased or sealed. Why consider our law firm? We have a former District Attorney and a former Chief Public Defender in Lackawanna County working here. We’ve seen how the wheels of justice turn from both sides.
Experience matters. Make sure you have a lawyer who knows how to navigate the complicated legal system in Lackawanna County and other nearby counties. Call (570) 348-0776 to arrange a consultation at no charge.