After someone fulfills their sentence for a crime that they committed, their criminal record continues to penalize them. Criminal records hold individuals back from having better opportunities because of a simple question that asks if they have ever been arrested or convicted of a crime. The stigma of a criminal record makes moving past old mistakes a challenge. More often than not, individuals with criminal records cannot get the jobs they desire, cannot afford to support themselves and their families, and have limited access to housing opportunities and financial support.
Fortunately for many, there are laws in which criminal records can be erased or hidden from public view. This allows former criminals to contribute to society by opening up a broader range of opportunities. In Pennsylvania, expungement laws and broader laws, such as Clean Slate and Act 5 limited access, are helping individuals with criminal records seek some relief and a second chance at a responsible life. If you would like to clear your criminal record, you should seek the expertise of an experienced attorney.
Clearing Your Criminal Record in Pennsylvania
Expungement refers to the process of erasing, completely removing, or sealing conviction records, thus making them unavailable through state and federal records. Expungement provides a second chance to people who have stayed out of legal trouble since their conviction by erasing their criminal record from background checks.
Expungement is additionally beneficial for juveniles and young adults who made mistakes in their youth. Financial hardships accompany a criminal record, and this burden rests on young adults much too soon. If they have truly reformed their lives, young people should have the opportunity to grow up and pursue meaningful lives without a criminal record hanging over them.
Additionally, Pennsylvania has broadened the types of cases that can be expunged, and the state has certain laws, such as Clean Slate and Act 5 limited access. These allow more people to have the opportunity to erase or hide derogatory marks on their criminal record. One such example are those who were convicted of a crime, were not tried before a jury, or were not arrested or prosecuted for any offenses for five years.
The Criteria for Expungements in Pennsylvania
While the general criteria for expungement are complicated, you may be granted an expungement for the following offenses:
- An underage drinking conviction
- First-time drug offenses
- Dismissed charges
- Charges as a juvenile
- Individuals seventy years or older with no arrests in the past ten years
There may be exceptions and additional criteria pertaining to expungement law in Pennsylvania. If you are wondering whether your criminal record fits the criteria, speak with a Pennsylvania expungement attorney.
How Does the Expungement Process Work in Pennsylvania?
Everyone deserves a second chance at life after serving the time for their past mistakes. The realities of having a criminal record create a disadvantage that an expungement can potentially dissolve.
The first step in seeking expungement is to work with your attorney to discuss the framework of your case. If your case is viable for expungement, you can expect your attorney to take the following steps:
- File an expungement motion with the appropriate county Clerk of Courts
- Finalize the expungement before a Common Pleas Judge
- A hearing is conducted
- If approved, the Order for Expungement is signed by the judge
- Court motion to hide the criminal record
- Records are hidden or destroyed
The process of expungement is not easy, and it must be completed thoroughly and properly with an experienced attorney. This process takes time, and there is much correspondence between the courts and your attorney. Your attorney should take special care to monitor every detail of your case and keep you informed throughout the process.
Schedule Your Free Consultation with an Experienced Pennsylvania Expungement Attorney at Rubin, Glickman, Steinberg & Gifford, P.C.
With over sixty-five years of legal experience serving Southeastern Pennsylvania, the seasoned criminal defense attorneys at Rubin, Glickman, Steinberg & Gifford, P.C., offer each client the dedicated representation they deserve. We want you to have peace of mind knowing that we are working hard to help you pursue a second chance at life.
We understand the different complexities of clearing criminal records in Pennsylvania. You do not have to go through this process alone. Our attorneys are committed to defending your best interests and helping you navigate the complexities of Pennsylvania’s expungement process. Contact us at (215) 822-7575 or complete our contact form to schedule a free consultation with our expungement attorney today.