Expungement & Pardons

Starting over with a clean slate
“Expungement” written in red on a criminal record document

Expungement and Pardons in Pennsylvania

Being arrested, charged, or convicted of a crime can hinder your ability to get a job, housing, and public aid. In Pennsylvania, expungement is a legal option that can erase certain crimes on your record and give you a fresh start. In some cases, applying for a pardon may be the only way to have a criminal conviction removed from your record. At Gross McGinley, LLP, our criminal defense Lawyers can assess your situation and advise you whether expungement or a pardon may be a possibility to clean up your record. 

Here’s what to know about expungements and pardons in PA:

What does it mean to have a record expunged?

Who is eligible for expungement in PA?

How does the expungement process work?

How long will I have to wait until my record is expunged?

What is a governor’s pardon?

Can I have my record sealed under Pennsylania’s clean slate law?

How can the criminal defense Lawyers at Gross McGinley help with my expungement case? 



What is Expungement?

In Pennsylvania, expungement removes any eligible arrests, charges, and convictions from your criminal record. Generally, expunged records are not available to the public, including police or the courts. Once you’ve completed the expungement process, you don’t need to disclose an arrest or conviction when applying for a job, school, or public benefits. Expunged records will not show up on criminal background checks, which makes it much easier to find a job or rent an apartment. Some common factors that can affect expungement include the jurisdiction where the charge or crime took place, the type of offense, and criminal history.



Eligibility for Expungement in Pennsylvania

Only certain types of criminal records may be expunged. Most of them are records in which someone is arrested and charged with a crime but not convicted of it. Serious misdemeanors, felonies, violent crimes, and sexual offenses typically cannot be expunged. However, there are a few circumstances in which convictions and other records may be expunged, including:

Summary offense convictions – If you haven’t been arrested for five years after being convicted of an offense such as disorderly conduct or low-level retail theft, you may be able to have these summary offenses expunged.

Completion of an ARD Program – In Pennsylvania, the Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (ARD) program enables non-violent first-time offenders to have charges expunged if they complete all requirements of the program. ARD and expungement often are available to those who have been charged with a first-time DUI and other offenses such as misdemeanor drug possession.

People over the age of 70 who have not been arrested for 10 years after a conviction may be eligible for expungement of certain misdemeanor or felony crimes. Pennsylvania also offers partial expungement, which means that if you were charged with multiple crimes but convicted of only one, the remaining charges may be expunged. In many cases, when a minor reaches the age of 18, their records may be expunged or sealed.



What Is the Process for Expungement?

Expungement petitions are filed in the county where an arrest, charge, or conviction occurred. If expungement is approved after being reviewed by a district Lawyer, a judge will sign the expungement order and your record will be erased. Our criminal defense Lawyers can review your record, advise you of whether certain items may be expunged, and assist you with the filing process.



How Long Does Expungement Take?

Generally, the entire expungement process may take anywhere from four to six months. However, time frames may be shorter or longer depending on the circumstances of each case. The type of offense, eligibility requirements, resistance from district Lawyers, filing errors, and the speed of the court can all affect how long expungement will take. Our criminal defense Lawyers can help you avoid filing errors and follow up after your record has been expunged to ensure it has been erased by the Pennsylvania State Police and removed from the Unified Judicial System portal. We also can assist with getting an expunged record removed from FBI background checks.



Pardons in Pennsylvania

A governor’s pardon involves forgiveness for a criminal conviction and can restore rights such as the ability to sit on a jury, own firearms, hold public office, and serve in the military. Obtaining a pardon is a lengthy process and the final decision ultimately rests with the Pennsylvania Pardons Board and the governor. A pardon does not expunge a conviction from your record. However, after receiving a pardon, you may file a petition to have it expunged. Our team can help you navigate the pardon process and provide the legal guidance you need every step of the way.



What is Pennsylvania’s Clean Slate Law?

Signed into law in 2018, Pennsylvania’s Clean Slate Law automatically seals the criminal records of those charged with or convicted of certain crimes. To be eligible, you must have not committed any crimes for at least ten years. Our criminal defense Lawyers help you understand how the clean slate law works and can determine whether filing for expungement would be beneficial as well.



Why Choose Our Criminal Defense Lawyers?

Requirements and processes for expungement vary widely by jurisdiction. That’s why it’s crucial to hire a Pennsylvania defense Lawyer who is knowledgeable about federal, state, and local criminal law. At Gross McGinley, LLP, our expungement and pardons team includes former prosecutors and seasoned defense lawyers experienced in all aspects of criminal law. We work collaboratively to find practical solutions for clients. We’re dedicated to providing exceptional legal services with integrity, compassion, and respect. We understand that each case is unique and provide the personalized legal representation you need and deserve.

Contact Our Expungement Lawyers in Pennsylvania

For more than 40 years, Gross McGinley, LLP, has provided forward-thinking legal representation to clients in Pennsylvania. If you need assistance with expungement or applying for a pardon, contact us online or call us at 610-820-5450 to schedule a consultation with a criminal defense Lawyer.

Expungement & Pardons Team

View Profile Gross McGinley Allentown Law Firm Attorney Michael J. Blum

Michael J. Blum

Senior Counsel
View Profile Gross McGinley Allentown Law Firm Attorney Robert M. Campbell

Robert M. Campbell

Senior Counsel
View Profile Practice Chair Gross McGinley Allentown Law Firm Sara Hart Charette

Sarah Hart Charette

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Julianne Danchak

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Andrea Figueroa

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Eric A. Harakal

View Profile Lehigh Valley criminal defense lawyer Philip Lauer

Philip D. Lauer

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Alexander O. Ward


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