Record expungement is when all records of your arrest, charge, or conviction are destroyed. In Pennsylvania, you can get your adult criminal record expunged by filing a Petition for Expungement with the Court of Common Pleas in the county in which the offenses occurred. However, the procedure to expunge your record is tricky, which is why FindLaw has created this summary to help illuminate the process.
Obtain Your Criminal History
The Petition for Expungement is required to contain information such as the subject's name, date of birth, social security number, the offenses with which the subject was charged, the case's docket number, the offense tracking number and the disposition of the case. If this information is not provided, the petition will be dismissed regardless of its merits. Therefore, it is essential to obtain a copy of your rap sheet before you file the Petition. You can submit a request online or submit a criminal history request form.
The Petition for Expungement
There are two different forms you may use to file your petition. If you are trying to expunge summary offenses (not requiring a jury), also known as violations or infractions, use this form pursuant to Criminal Procedure Code section 490. If you were convicted of a misdemeanor or felony, instead use this form pursuant to Criminal Procedure Code 790.
Once you file the petition, a hearing will then be scheduled before a judge who will determine whether to grant the expungement request or not. In making this determination, the judge will take into consideration factors such as:
If the judge agrees to expunge your record, they will create an expungement order.
Sexual Crimes Against Minors Will Never Be Expunged
Pennsylvania law specifically prohibits the courts from expunging records when someone has been charged with certain sexual assault or related offenses against victims under the age of 18, even if you have successfully complied with the terms of ARD.
Juvenile Record Expungement
Pennsylvania also allows juvenile records to be expunged under specific circumstances, including summary offenses. However, you must fall into one of these five categories:
Expunge DNA Records
You can erase your DNA records under very limited circumstances. In fact, it can only happen if you were arrested by mistake or if the case against you was dismissed or reversed.
Need Help Expunging Your Criminal Record? Talk to an Attorney Today
If you have questions about the hurdles involved in expungement proceedings, you may want to talk with an experienced criminal defense attorney. Defense attorneys typically work on a flat fee basis, which means they won't rack up billable hours on your case. Get started today by reaching out to a Philadelphia criminal defense attorney today.
Contact a qualified attorney.