A criminal record can follow you throughout your entire life and can cause you problems in many different areas. For example, a criminal charge or conviction can impact your ability to get a job, a loan or a gun permit. Is there anything that you can do about your record? You may be able to have your criminal record expunged. If your criminal record is expunged, then most people will not be able to see that you were ever charged or convicted.
There are strict rules in Pennsylvania governing who is eligible to have their record expunged and the process is governed by statute (18 Pa.C.S. §9122). A criminal charge or conviction can be expunged under the following circumstances:
– the charge was dismissed, withdrawn or nolle prossed
– the defendant completed the Accelerated Rehabilitative Program (ARD) for that charge
– the defendant, who is older than 21 years of age, was charged with Underage Drinking (18 Pa.C.S. §6308) when he was over the age of 18 and he has completed all requirements imposed with the conviction
– the defendant, who is over 70 years of age, has been free from arrest or prosecution for 10 years from the date of release from confinement or supervision
– the charge was a summary offense and the defendant has been free from arrest or prosecution for 5 years from the date of conviction for that summary offense
How does the expungement process work? The process begins with the filing of a Petition for Expungement. Notice will then be given to the District Attorney who may have the ability to object to the record being expunged. If there is no objection, then the judge can grant the expungement without a hearing.
If you believe that you may be eligible to have your criminal record expunged, then you should discuss your options with a knowledgeable attorney. Contact our Berks County criminal defense attorneys at 610-372-5128 or email us at [email protected]