September 22nd, 2021

Am I Eligible for Expungement in PA?

Are you tired of a past mistake negatively affecting your present and future? Are you fed up with potential employers dismissing you based solely on your prior criminal history? Did you read these past two sentences in a Billy Mays voice?

While I’m admittedly not the generational voice of the Home Shopping Network, our Criminal Defense team at Gross McGinley is apt at achieving expungements for our clients based on past charges. If you believe that you or someone you know may be eligible for an expungement in PA, we will happily review your particular circumstances and walk you through the process.

What is an expungement?

An expungement is a court-ordered process in which an arrest and/or conviction is sealed or “erased” from an individual’s criminal record.

It is important to know that, even if your prior charges were ultimately dismissed, the record of arrest is still typically available to the public at large. However, once an expungement order is signed, the fact that you were ever charged or convicted of a past crime usually is no longer visible to the public, and you are sometimes no longer obligated to disclose said charges on job applications or elsewhere.

How do I get my charges expunged?

In order to apply for an expungement in PA, you must submit a Petition to the County in which the charges originated. At Gross McGinley, this is a process we can handle, and with our experience, will put you in the best position possible for the expungement to be granted.

Can my charges be expunged?

The following persons are generally eligible for expungement in Pennsylvania:

  • Individuals whose criminal charges were dismissed prior to trial
  • Individuals who were found not guilty after judge or jury trial
  • Individuals who completed ARD program or similar rehabilitation program successfully
  • Individuals who were found guilty of summary offense more than 5 years ago, and have not been arrested since

Furthermore, certain charges can be expunged only in limited circumstances, mainly (1) once an individual has been dead for three years or (2) if they are 70 years older and have not been convicted of a new offense within ten years of the completion of their sentence.

What if my charges can’t be expunged?

Though there is a strict standard to expunge certain misdemeanors and felonies, you are not out of options.

First, your record may be able to be sealed. Through a Petition for Limited Access/Petition for Sealing, persons convicted of first, second, or third degree misdemeanors, or an offense that carries a maximum sentence of no more than five years imprisonment, can have their records sealed. Additionally, the convicted person must wait 10 years after the sentence has been completed. Plus, during that 10-year period, the applicant can’t be arrested or prosecuted by any other crime punishable by a year or more. Sealing one’s criminal record has nearly the same effect as an expungement, as one’s record is no longer visible to the general public, including potential employers. However, law enforcement agencies will still be able to view your record. Moreover, there are certain first degree misdemeanor records that can’t be sealed. For a more in-depth look at the sealing process and the related Clean Slate Law, click here.

Second, if your record cannot be sealed or expunged, you may be able to obtain a Pardon – which has the same effect as an expungement. To learn more about pardons, click here.

Our attorneys at Gross McGinley have ample knowledge of expungement in PA and all of the potential options discussed above. Because your record can be pulled every time you apply for jobs, educational institutions, or complete background checks, this process is not something that should be taken lightly.

You are more than your criminal history, and we are happy to help you finally move past it.

As a criminal defender, Robert Campbell helps his clients navigate a wide range of cases, including bail hearings and modifications, probation violations, assault charges, drug offense, DUIs, disorderly conduct and public intoxication, criminal trespassing, and traffic citations. Additionally, he assists with placement into Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (ARD) and Marijuana Diversion programs. He also supports those seeking expungement and pardons. 

The content found in this resource is for informational reference use only and is not considered legal advice. Laws at all levels of government change frequently and the information found here may be or become outdated. It is recommended to consult your attorney for the most up-to-date information regarding current laws and legal matters.