Criminal records can affect many aspects of life ranging from employment to parenting. Some blemishes on a criminal record can be erased or expunged. Each state has different standards for expungement and different requirements for what charges are eligible to be expunged. Once it is determined that a charge is eligible for expungement, the process is fairly simple in Pennsylvania.
Determine if the charges are eligible for expungement. According to the Pennsylvania Expungement Statute, nearly all charges that did not result in a conviction can be expunged -- including dismissals, discharges and acquittals. Charges resulting in conviction that may be expunged are limited to two types: when the offender is at least 70 years old and has not been arrested in the previous 10 years; and, when the offender has been deceased no less than three years.
File a Petition for Expungement with the Court of Common Pleas in the county in which the charge took place. Include the person's name, social security number, date of birth, charged offense, docket number, offense tracking number and the result of the case. An affidavit and proposed order must be attached.
Attend the hearing that will be set by the court to determine if the expungement should be granted. Some factors the court may consider are criminal history, payment of fines, severity of the crime and potential impact on future earnings.
Wait for expungement to be reflected with all agencies. If the petition is granted, copies of the order of expungement will be distributed to all agencies aware of the offense such as court clerks and law enforcement. It may take several weeks for all entities to remove the charge from their official records.
Seek the help of an attorney if any aspect of the process is unclear.
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