If you or somebody you know is living with a criminal record in Pennsylvania, you probably know how frustrating it can be to have those past mistakes hold you back in life. Unfortunately, like most states, Pennsylvania makes it easy to access the criminal records of its offenders. Coupled with an increase in inexpensive online background check sites, having a Pennsylvania criminal record can keep you from getting the job you deserve, desirable housing, professional licenses, and countless opportunities which would otherwise be available without a criminal record.
Fortunately, Pennsylvania State law provides options to expunge or seal the criminal records for many living with a Pennsylvania criminal record. An expungement or record seal can help you move on in life without the burden of having a criminal past. After obtaining a Pennsylvania expungement, you may legally state that you were not convicted or arrested of the expunged offense, and if your expungement order is properly enforced, commercial background check companies are legally required to remove your expunged records from their databases.
Since the majority of people reading this aren’t lawyers, we’ve tried to simplify the legal jargon on our website, so regular people may follow along and get the information needed to understand their rights. However, before we get started, we should be clear that some of this information can get complicated, and, in many cases, it’s best to seek the assistance of an experienced lawyer.
To help you understand your rights, our lawyers have developed a tool that can be helpful in figuring out your options. This tool can’t be perfectly accurate in every situation, but our lawyers have invested substantial time and resources working to make it as accurate as possible.
You can get started by using our Secure Eligibility Test, or you can give us a call at (844) 947-3732 to see if our legal staff is available for a free consultation. Be aware that our staff is often busy with current clients and a high volume of calls and appointments. If you’re serious about getting rid of your record, your best bet is to take our secure, confidential Eligibility Test and then schedule an appointment to discuss your results and options.
You should qualify for a Pennsylvania expungement if you have successfully completed an ARD program for a criminal offense and had the charges dismissed.
If you have successfully completed ARD prior to March 28, 2013, your ARD case will not be automatically expunged upon completion of the program—you must specifically petition the court to remove your criminal record after completion of your ARD program.
For ARD programs which have been successfully completed after March 28, 2013, your associated criminal record should be automatically expunged. However, this is not always the case, and if your criminal record is still appearing after completion of your ARD program, please contact us for help in ensuring that it is properly expunged.
If you have been arrested for a criminal offense, but have not been convicted, the record of your arrest unfortunately remains visible and easily accessible to the public—successful expungement will remove your arrest record from the public record as if it never occurred.
You will typically be eligible to expunge a Pennsylvania arrest record if any of the following are true: (i)your case was dismissed; (ii) you were found not guilty, or (iii) the charges were withdrawn or nolle prossed. If you have been arrested, but still have charges pending, you will not qualify to have your arrest record expunged.
Under Pennsylvania Law, a “Summary Offense” is not a misdemeanor or a felony—these are lesser criminal offenses, including but not limited to: disorderly conduct, trespass, criminal mischief, underage drinking, retail theft, harassment, and other low-level offenses. A complete list of Summary Offenses can be found here.
Here are the general requirements for a summary offense expungement:
If you were over 18 when convicted of a Summary Offense, five years must elapse without another arrest before you may be eligible for expungement.
If you were under 18 years when convicted of a Summary Offense, you may expunge it once you’ve turned 18 and six months have passed since paying all fines.
Pennsylvania has recently passed a new set of record sealing laws, which now permit certain misdemeanor convictions to be sealed, regardless of whether ARD was granted or successfully completed. The legal term for this service in Pennsylvania is an “order for limited access.” Records sealed under the new law are not destroyed and remain available only to a limited number of state agencies. If you are granted an “order for limited access,” your records will no longer be available to the general public, private employers, or landlords.
The general qualifications for sealing a misdemeanor conviction are as follows: (i) the misdemeanor must be a second or third degree misdemeanor, or an “ungraded offense;” (ii) ten years must have passed since you have completed the terms of your sentence, and you cannot have been arrested or convicted of a crime during that time period; and (iii) it must not be a prohibited offense (such as intimidating a witness or an offense requiring sexual offender registration)
Unfortunately, not all criminal records are eligible for expungement under current Pennsylvania State Law; however, the new record sealing law may now be available to you instead. If you’d like to find out whether your offense qualifies for one of these Pennsylvania criminal record removal services, feel free to contact us today. The expungement and record sealing process in Pennsylvania can be difficult to accomplish without the assistance of an attorney. It’s recommended that you consult a law firm experienced in such matters to work on removing your criminal record so that you can move on in life without that heavy burden.
Pennsylvania Title 18 Cons. Stat. § 6105 states that a person who has been convicted of a disabling offense may petition the court in the county of their residence for a restoration of firearm rights. This is generally available for offenses that have been vacated, pardoned, or those in which case 10 years have passed since the most recent conviction.
Furthermore, the court “shall grant” relief, after a hearing, to any person that has not been convicted of certain enumerated offenses or any other crime punishable by imprisonment exceeding one year unless [the court] determines that “the applicant’s character and reputation is such that the applicant would not be likely to act in a manner dangerous to public safety.”
Unfortunately, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled in 2003 that because the firearm restoration statute does not effectively relieve the petitioner of all civil rights lost upon conviction, a person that receives a court order under this section is still federally prohibited from possessing firearms under the Gun Control Act.
Title 42 Pa. Cons. Stat. § 9771 states that “the court may at any time terminate continued supervision or lessen or increase the conditions upon which an order of probation has been imposed.” Therefore, Pennsylvania law allows persons who are on probation to request that the court terminate it early. Early probation termination is beneficial because a) you would not have to inform employers, others that you’re currently servicing a sentence of court supervision, and b) it starts running the clock for expungements and sealing a bit sooner. Therefore, by terminating your sentence early, you may be eligible to seal or expunge your record earlier than you normally would have.
If you are anxious to expunge your record and you’re still on probation, you can apply to end your probation early. Generally, all fines and court costs must be paid in full and you must have successfully complied with all other sentencing requirements. Finally, to be considered for early probation termination, you should have completed at least 50% of your probationary term.
In deciding whether or not to end probation early the courts will most likely consider the following: criminal history, age, seriousness of the offense you were charged with, current amount of time spent on probation. Furthermore, a hearing will likely be held on the matter – which our firm will cover by an attorney. The entire process can typically take months to complete, so contact our firm to see if you qualify for this Pennsylvania legal service.
Having an experienced attorney by your side is your best bet when seeking one of the above Pennsylvania services. Generally, procedures such as these are more complex than you originally think, and having an experienced attorney will greatly help your case. Contact our firm or take our newly updated eligibility test to see if you qualify for one of our services.
If you are tired of having a criminal record hold you back, reach out to us by taking our Secure Eligibility Test or by giving us a call at (844) 947-3732. Our law firm has helped thousands of people with criminal records move on in life, leaving many of the negative effects of a criminal record behind. Our experienced attorneys and legal staff are here to help you figure out what criminal record clearing services best fit your needs, and then help you accomplish your goals. Using our secure, confidential Eligibility Test is the best way to get the process started.Some of the potential benefits of expunging your criminal record in Pennsylvania include:
Removing a finding of guilt from your criminal record to help you get a better job
Becoming eligible for professional licenses you previously did not qualify for
Restoring your Second Amendment Right to bear arms
No longer being treated as a felon
Increased eligibility for student loans, housing assistance, and government programs
Improving your ability to obtain higher-paying job opportunities
Improving your ability to obtain higher-paying job opportunities
Improving access and admission to college and other educational resources
If you successfully obtain an expungement in Pennsylvania, your case will be completely removed from the Pennsylvania Unified Judicial System, restricting access to the public, and preventing Pennsylvania State agencies from using expunged offenses against you.
You can trust that you will get exceptional service from our law firm, as we have an A Rating from the Better Business Bureau, and prestigious attorney rating services such as Thompson Reuters and Avvo list our attorneys as Super Lawyers and Superb Attorneys. Our law firm has attorneys licensed to practice law in all Pennsylvania state courts, provides low price guarantees, and is here to fight for you and put your criminal record behind you!
Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition is most commonly referred to as ARD. These types of cases involve relatively minor offenses and defendants who are first time offenders. Such cases will only be placed in the ARD program after a careful review by the District Attorney’s Office. Defendants placed in the ARD program must agree to a probationary sentence with conditions imposed such as restitution to the victim, rehabilitative classes and/or community service. If the defendant completes the sentence, any record of the arrest may be expunged. If the defendant fails to complete the sentence, the case will go to trial. In minor assault type cases the victim must agree to ARD.Under Pennsylvania Law, a “Summary Offense” is not a misdemeanor or a felony—these are lesser criminal offenses, including but not limited to: disorderly conduct, trespass, criminal mischief, underage drinking, retail theft, harassment, and other low-level offenses. Refer to paragraphs above to get a complete list of Summary Offense.
The easiest way to find out is by taking our confidential, free Eligibility Test. In the alternative, you can refer to the above paragraphs to have a better idea of your eligibility. Give us a call at 844-947-3732 to speak with a criminal records analyst or attorney today!
If you are not qualified for the above services but are still looking for ways to improve your life, one of our affiliates has an alternative to remove your records and personal information from the private online background check databases that matter the most. You can find out more about this service at www.recordshield.com. Note, however, that this is not a legal service that, and is not a substitute for an expungement.
Currently we charge $750 to $1,000 for services in Pennsylvania. We offer payment plans based on the client’s needs, and a refund policy when circumstances apply.Contact us today to get a tailored quote – we always offer discounts to clients ready to take actions!
If you are reading this – you have already started the right course of action! Contact us so that our experts can start handling your expungement/restricted access right away.
Having your record expunged/sealed is not an easy process – there are many subtle rules that need to be followed for you to be successful. Hiring us to obtain a satisfactory result on your behalf will give you peace of mind, ensuring it is done correctly and as quickly as possible, and increasing your chances of success. We will handle any objections the District Attorney may present, send a licensed attorney to argue your case in court if need be, and write letters to potential employers indicating that your case has been reopened and is in the process of being removed from your criminal record, all at an unbeatable price.
The most frequently question we hear from clients is – how long do I have to wait?We understand the importance of working efficiently so we try our best to move things forward. However, an expungement usually takes several months to obtain, depending on the particular county, and sometimes the particular court.
Typically, clients do not have to show up in court for us to do our job. Under rare circumstances where you are required to attend a hearing, we will be there every step of the way and make sure you have nothing to worry about.
We strive to make our clients informed and assured of every processes of their case. Clients get a monthly update of their case from our paralegals, and one can always contact us by either phone or email for an update.Our law firm is currently finishing up a custom client portal, where clients can obtain information about their case online by simply logging in.
Unfortunately, firearm rights restoration is complicated and frustrating in most states – contact us directly and let us know if we can help!