Expungements and Pardons
If you’ve been convicted of criminal charges in the past and would like to get those removed from your record, consider hiring an attorney to navigate the expungement or pardon process for you.
Criminal record expungement is removing specific charges and convictions from a person’s criminal record. If you have your criminal record expunged, any and all records of the offense will be deleted so there is no trace that it ever existed. Not every charge may be able to be removed from a criminal record, but some charges can be completely cleared. Other charges and convictions can be cleared with a pardon.
Eligibility for having your criminal record expunged:
- Anyone how has been accepted in the ARD program, paid associated costs and successfully completed the terms of the program and probation
- Anyone who has plead guilty to a summary offense more than five years ago and has no criminal charges since then
- Anyone who has criminal charges that have been dismissed, withdrawn or found not guilty after trial
Benefits of having your criminal record expunged:
- You should have your criminal record expunged for the purpose of employee background checks not uncovering records of arrest and disposition.
- An expungement gives you a chance to have a clear record. Mistakes that you may have made won’t stand in your way of employment, furthering your education, participating in sports or lead to further embarrassment.
- Record of your arrest and punishment will no longer be in police databases.
The process of having your record expunged varies depending on how busy the court is, but it typically takes two to four months.
Expungement for Minors
- Underage drinking charges can be expunged in the State of Pennsylvania, after you have met all the terms of your punishment.
- Five years after the date of summary conviction, you can petition the court to expunge the charges on your record if you have met all the terms of your punishment.
A pardon or “Governor’s Pardon” is an act performed by the Governor where a person is forgiven for a crime they committed. A pardon can forgive misdemeanor and felony convictions, and it completely clear a record.
In the State of Pennsylvania, the pardon process is detailed and time consuming and done through an Application for Clemency.
How the Pardon Process Works:
An Application of Clemency is filed.
The Pennsylvania Board of Pardons then assesses whether your case qualifies to move forward, based your offense, the amount of time that has passed, efforts at self-improvement, and how you have supported your community.
An investigator comes out to interview the applicant and verify the facts in the application.
After three years, you will be invited to make a presentation to the Board of Pardons.
If three of five Board Members agree, they recommend to the Governor to issue a Pardon.
The Governor typically approve within six months of recommendation.
Your Pardon allows you to file a Petition to Expunge Records of Criminal Proceedings in the county that you were convicted.
The entire process usually takes three to four years.
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