Written by Timothy Czekaj
A previous offense on your record can continuously affect your life by making it difficult to secure employment, get into school, or avoid unwanted attention from curious neighbors. The expungement process is meant to allow certain people to clear their record. However, expungements in PA are sometimes complex and may take months to acquire. If you would like to clear your name and move on from a past offense, you will need an experienced expungement lawyer to help you through every step of the process.
What Offenses Can Be Expunged?
Summary offenses are the least serious offenses you can be charged with in Pennsylvania, and they include many crimes such as low-level theft and certain underage alcohol offenses. Your expungement for a summary offense may proceed if you have not been arrested or charged with any other crime over the last five years.
Pennsylvania law allows for misdemeanors and felonies to be considered for expungement if one of the following is true:
- Your conviction was for an underage alcohol violation, and you are now at least 21 years old
- Your arrest did not result in a conviction
- You are at least 70 years old, and you have not been arrested or charged at least 10 years
- The person seeking an expungement has been deceased for the least three years
- You have successfully completed the ARD (Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition) program
Expungements in PA Can Take Several Months
Every expungement process is unique since each case has to be researched and heard by the court. Expungement petitions can take up to six months. Some of the things that might require a lot of time would include difficulty researching old cases, or if the district attorney has some objections to your expungement. An experienced lawyer familiar with the process can reduce unnecessary delays and will help have a realistic understanding of what to expect.
An expunged record is removed from the court system, public searches, and will not appear on official background checks. However, the information will still be held at the Central Repository of the Pennsylvania State Police. This is meant to aid state police who may need the record for any future investigative purposes. In addition, and an expungement order will not require private companies who may have the information to erase their records. The FBI may refuse to remove a record of your arrest or conviction from their “rap sheet” even if you receive an expungement.
Your Expungement Can be Revisited if It is Denied
You can re-file an expungement claim if a previous attempt was denied. The judge in your case will consider the facts of the crime in question, how much time has elapsed since the offense, and the details of your current situation. These details will evolve over time. Therefore, under the right set of circumstances, you may be successful at the second attempt of an expungement claim even if you failed at an earlier date. Your lawyer can help you understand your chances of success if you want to refile after a failed attempt.
A Skilled Lawyer Can Help You Win an Expungement
Receiving an expungement for your record can make your life a lot easier. Unfortunately, filing for an expungement can be complicated, and it will require the proper evidence to be collected and presented in court. An experienced lawyer will be able to gather and file the necessary forms and address any official or district attorney who is opposed to your petition. Speaking with your lawyer will help you understand what you are facing if you attempt to clear your record.
A Lawyer from Czekaj Law, LLC Can Help You with Expungements in PA
Your life may have changed a lot since you were arrested and convicted of a crime, but the record of that offense can still cause you many problems. An expungement should completely remove a previous offense from your record and public searches. However, expungements in PA are only meant to be granted when absolutely appropriate, and therefore the process can be long and complicated. At Czekaj Law, LLC, we understand how expungements are won, and we can help you clear your name and move on with your life.