If you have criminal charges on your public record. it can make it difficult for you to live a normal life and do things like getting a job, finding housing, or qualifying for financial assistance since criminal offenses and arrests appear on your public record. However, if you were arrested or charged with a minor offense, you can keep your criminal record private from employers, landlords and the general public (except state agencies) through Pennsylvania’s expungement laws.
Those who are qualified for expungement need to meet the following criteria:
- The court dismissed or dropped the charges, or found you not guilty.
- You completed a diversionary program.
- You were convicted of summary offenses, such as offenses that are generally punishable by a fine or a short period in jail, or non-violent misdemeanors and have completed all terms of their sentence, including probation and paid fines.
You may be eligible for expungement if you meet one of the requirements above. However, for serious offenses like violent crimes or sex offenses, expungement may not be possible
Not eligible for expungement
If you have a criminal offense on your record that is not eligible for expungement, the only way to remove them is first to obtain a pardon. But pardons are hard to get and may take several years to process. You may need to show that you have been living a productive, law-abiding life for several years before you can even start the application process.
Expungement in Pennsylvania can provide a fresh start by removing any arrests or charges from your public record. To pursue expungement, you can discuss your options with an attorney sooner rather than later.