How to Expunge an Arrest in Pennsylvania

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If you have been arrested, even for a minor criminal offense, you will have a permanent criminal record. Therefore, if you are trying to acquire a job, apply for student loans or even rent an apartment, your criminal history may hinder the process. You can, however, expunge an arrest record in Pennsylvania. Expungement destroys the record and makes it as if the arrest never occurred.

Determine if your arrest qualifies for expungment. Arrests that result in a non-conviction qualify for expungement. If you were convicted of a crime, there are two exceptions that qualify you for expungement. First, you qualify if you are at least 70 years old and have not been arrested for 10 years following release from prison or probation. Second, you qualify if you are trying to expunge juvenile records and sufficient time has passed since the arrest.

File a expungement motion and order. This is a packet this is available for download. See "References" for a link to this packet.

Mail or present in person the entire expungement motion and order packet to the district attorney's office. The district attorney either grants or denies your motion.

Present your motion to motion court if the district attorney grants your motion. Motion court occurs on Mondays through Thursdays at 9:00 AM. Show up 10 to 15 minutes before motion court begins to present your case.

Obtain the judge's signature on your motion in motion court.

Make six copies of the entire motion, and certify each copy of your official motion with the clerk of court's office.You will keep one copy for your records, one for the district attorney, one for the district justice, two for the police department that made the arrest and one for the motion and order office.

Mail or hand deliver the certified copies to each required agency.

Wait for a response in the mail to your expungment motion and order. You will receive a response in two to three months.


  • Make sure all court costs and fines are paid before filing an expungement motion.


About the Author

Art Corvelay is a freelance writer for demand studios who has been writing and editing for five years. He holds a Ph.D. in technical communication and teaches courses in writing and editing at the university level.

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