You made a mistake when you were young and foolish and it’s haunted you for years. You have a criminal record as a result and it’s been difficult to get ahead, as you face challenges getting a job, obtaining aid for higher education and even getting a decent place to live. It may be time to consider filing the appropriate application to “expunge” or seal your criminal record.
Qualifying for Expunction of Your Criminal Record
For most of the state’s history, Pennsylvania has only allowed expunction of “non-convictions,” which included dismissal or withdrawal of charges, acquittal by a judge or jury, accelerated rehabilitative disposition and probation without a verdict for certain drug offenses.
In 2008, though, the legislature expanded the scope of expunction, allowing individuals to seek to have records related to a summary offense sealed, provided the person had been free from arrest or prosecution for a minimum of five years following the prior conviction. To successfully expunge such a record, you must file the following documents with the court:
- A certified criminal records check from the Pennsylvania State Police showing that you have not been arrested, charged or convicted of any crime for a minimum of five years since the conviction for the offense you seek to have expunged.
- A certified copy of your criminal records showing that you have paid all costs, fines and restitution for any conviction.
You can still seek to expunge any “non-convictions,” but efforts to seal any record that resulted in a guilty plea, verdict or a plea of no contest require that the governor of Pennsylvania grant a pardon.
Contact Our Office
At Barnard, Mezzanotte, Pinnie, Seelaus & Kraft LLP, we have provided thorough and effective legal counsel to clients throughout Delaware County in Pennsylvania since 1980. We offer a free initial consultation. To schedule an appointment, call us at 610-565-4055 or 302-594-4535 or contact us online