How Do I Get an Expungement for a Felony in Pennsylvania?

By Steven Coldiron
Removing a criminal record in Pennsylvania is governed by specific statute.

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A criminal record can be a difficult thing to live with. Having an arrest record can be embarrassing and have a negative impact on your career. One way to avoid these consequences is to have the record of your arrest or conviction expunged, or purged from the official files of the police and courts. The state of Pennsylvania has procedures set by law for expunging felony records. While summary offenses may be expunged simply by petitioning the court, felony records generally can only be expunged after reaching age 70 or after death.

Secure legal counsel to assist with preparing the request for expunging the record. Alternatively, familiarize yourself with the applicable laws in the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes and prepare the petition yourself.

Determine the type of crime for which you were convicted. You may or may not be eligible for an expungement of your criminal record depending upon the type of offense for which you were arrested or convicted. Title 18, Section 9122 spells out the rules regarding which offenses are permitted to be expunged. Generally, felony sexual offenses are not eligible for expungement.

Prepare the request to have the felony record expunged. A felony record can be expunged if the petitioner is at least 70 years old and has not been arrested for 10 years following the completion of the sentence, if no disposition has been reported to the state's central repository of criminal history within 18 months of arrest or if the subject of the petition has been dead for three years or more.

Submit the petition to the court in which the offense was prosecuted and await a decision from the court. If the petition is granted the court will notify the requisite agencies to expunge the records.

About the Author

Steven Coldiron is a veteran police commander and a former Navy Intelligence Specialist. He has written for over 10 years on international affairs, history and law. He has published in the "Journal of International Security Affairs" and online at American Thinker and American Diplomacy. Coldiron holds a bachelor's degree in history and a master's degree in criminal justice.

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