Clearing A Path To A Brighter Future
The immediate penalty for a criminal conviction often is not as harmful to an individual as the long-term consequences of a having a criminal record. Having a criminal record can hamper or even derail a career, cut an education short, or prevent someone from obtaining housing, traveling abroad or volunteering to coach youth sports. Through expungement, an individual can have all public records of an arrest, charge or conviction erased from public view. This creates more opportunities regarding employment and other aspects of life.
Petitioning for a criminal record to be expunged is a complex process. At Terry Hess Law in State College, we have a thorough understanding of the Pennsylvania expungement process and how to make it work for our clients.
If your petition for an expungement is successful, your criminal record will not disappear entirely; law enforcement and licensing agencies still have access to that information. The record will, however, be sealed from prospective employers, landlords, education admissions offices and the public in general.
Who Qualifies For Expungement?
Expungement is an option for people who have been convicted of second- or third-degree misdemeanors as long as:
- They have completed any sentences from prior convictions
- They have no arrests in the past 10 years
Expungements are also available for cases in which:
- The accused is found not guilty.
- The charges are withdrawn, dismissed, or not prosecuted.
- The convicted person completes a diversionary program, usually for drug- or alcohol-related crimes.
- The offense is a low-level “summary offense” (like disorderly conduct, trespassing, loitering or shoplifting) and the convicted person has not re-offended in five years.
- The convicted person receives a pardon from the governor.
- The convicted person ha been dead for three years.
- The convicted person is 70 years of age or older and accumulated no additional criminal charges for 10 years.
To receive an expungement, the convicted party has to file a petition in the county in which the crime had been charged. An experienced lawyer is helpful to complete this step correctly. If the district attorney contests the petition, there would be a hearing.
A person who has a criminal conviction as a minor may petition to have a misdemeanor or a felony conviction removed from their record once they turn 18 or when five years have passed since the conviction with no other criminal offenses
Who Cannot Petition For Expungment?
Some individuals and charges are not eligible for expungement. These include:
- Convicted persons who have sentences of more than two years
- Convicted persons who have four or more sentences of a year or more
- Persons convicted of certain assault crimes, sex crimes or witness intimidation offenses.
We Can Help Protect Your Future
Our experienced criminal defense lawyer can lead you through the expungement process and help you clear the way for future success without the stain of an arrest or conviction. We welcome the opportunity to review the facts of your case and help you determine if petitioning for expungement is the right decision. Call 814-876-3302 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation.