EXPUNGEMENT – REMOVING DISMISSED CHARGES OR OLD CONVICTIONS FROM YOUR RECORD
Having a criminal record – not just a conviction, but even if it is just a record of charges filed against you which were ultimately dismissed – can be very detrimental to your life. Not only can a record follow you to court if you ever have to defend against charges in the future, but it can also severely hamper your ability to obtain employment (employers routinely run criminal record checks on job applicants), have certain commercial driving privileges (such as driving a company vehicle for work, or driving a school bus, paratransit vehicle, or taxicab), obtain credit, rent a home, own a firearm, coach a youth sports team, be an adult volunteer at children’s organized activities, or even vote.
Expungement is the process by which a person seeks to have the court remove dismissed charges, or certain old convictions, from their record. In Pennsylvania the process is called a Petition for Expungement, which is filed with the appropriate court. The process can be a bit complicated, and if it is not done correctly, the court might not grant the Petition for Expungement. So, your best bet is to hire an attorney to prepare and file the Petition for Expungement with the court, and to appear in court with you if a hearing on the Petition in front of a judge is scheduled.
Most of the time, if the charges filed against you are ultimately dismissed, or you are found not guilty, you can file a Petition for Expungement right away. In Pennsylvania, although not all convictions can necessarily be expunged, convictions for most traffic citations, summary offenses and certain criminal offenses (under certain circumstances) can be expunged after a period of years, usually 10 years after the date you were released from supervision or a custody sentence. Or (sometimes depending on the county), if you have successfully completed a court ARD program for a DUI or other charge, you can usually file a Petition for Expungement once you have completed all of your ARD probation and other requirements.
The trial attorneys at Rick Stock Law have a great deal of experience in preparing, filing and handling Petitions for Expungement for our clients. If you would like to seek expungement of charges on your record, or explore what legal options may be available to you, give our office a call at 484-272-5133 to schedule a consultation with one of our attorneys.