Expungements in Pennsylvania

August 23, 2016
By John Scialabba

In Pennsylvania there is the opportunity to have a criminal arrest record expunged where the case has not resulted in conviction, including, but not limited to, charges that were resolved by acquittal, dismissal, withdrawal, or nolle prosse. Furthermore, summary offenders, in qualifying circumstances, can have their criminal conviction records expunged if the individual has been free of arrest or conviction for five years following the disposition.

Having a clean criminal record can make a huge difference in an individual’s life. For example, opportunities such as obtaining a future career, being approved for a loan, adopting a child, and applying for licensure can be affected if an individual does not expunge their record. Even coaching a daughter’s soccer team could be denied.

When expungements are objected to by the Commonwealth, the Court will consider five factors in deciding whether an expungement should be granted. These factors include (1) the strength of the Commonwealth’s case against the individual, (2) the reason the Commonwealth gives for wishing to retain the records, (3) the individual’s age, criminal record, and employment history, (4) the length of time that has elapsed between the arrest and the petition to expunge, and (5) the specific adverse consequences the individual’s specific, substantial interest in clearing his or her record.

Seeking expungement of your arrest record can take time. The full process can take several months. Therefore, it is in your best interest to complete the expungement process as soon as possible. When you apply for your dream career, the last thing you want to be worrying about is your arrest record that could have been expunged years earlier.

If you have questions concerning whether your criminal record is eligible for expungement please contact the Criminal Defense Division of Strassburger McKenna Gutnick & Gefsky in Pittsburgh at (412) 281-5423.