(Guest post regarding wiping criminal records clean, based on US law).
Frequently Asked Questions
Expungement clears a person’s legal record of criminal offenses. Once expunged, the offenses cannot be detected by public record searches, giving the person more freedom to pursue social opportunities, housing opportunities, career opportunities, etc. Those who consider pursuing expungement usually have questions about its technical aspects. Below, we offer answers to some of the most commonly asked Pennsylvania expungement questions.
1. When can Expungement be Pursued?
In Pennsylvania, expungement can be pursued under the following conditions, among others:
- The subject reaches 70 years of age and has not been arrested or prosecuted for at least 10 years after being released from his or her latest confinement or supervision.
- The subject has been dead for at least three years.
- The subject committed a summary offense (i.e. petty crime) and has not been arrested or convicted for five years following conviction for the offense.
- The subject committed an offense for which no disposition has been received or placed into a record repository in the jurisdiction where the offense occurred after 18 months of the subject’s arrest for the offense. There must also be no legal action pending on the offense.
For an in-depth look at all conditions that permit expungement, the subject should consult with a Pennsylvania expungement attorney.
2. What Types of Records can be Expunged?
Expungement clears the subject’s record of information related to expunged offenses, particularly information in the form of: official complaints, warrants, arrest records, commitment records, police processing records, rap sheets, fingerprints, and photographs.
3. What Types Records Cannot be Expunged?
Expungement cannot be granted for the following types of records or sources of information: medical records (including psychiatric records), intelligence information, investigative records, press releases, police blotters, announcements of executive clemency, public information identifying wanted persons, or any documents or records prepared, maintained, or filed in courts of the Pennsylvania Commonwealth.
4. How Long Does the Expungement Process Take?
The length of the expungement process depends on several factors, particularly: the level of staffing at the court house that would grant the expungement; the priority given to expungement at the court house that would grant the expungement; and how efficiently the subject completes the forms and filing for the expungement process. In general, expungement may be granted in as little as two months or in as many as six.
5. Is Expungement the Same as Being Pardoned?
No, a pardon is granted by a governor and constitutes legal forgiveness for an offense, but it does not remove the offense from the subject’s record. An expungement is granted by a judge and removes the offense from the subject’s record.
6. Is it Necessary to Retain an Attorney for the Expungement Process?
The expungement process can be completed without the aid of an attorney. However, its technical nature makes hiring a Pennsylvania expungement attorney the best option. In addition to handling the sensitive paperwork involved in the process, an attorney can also help to represent a subject’s best interests before
The lawyers at the Law Offices of Marc Neff will be able to determine if a person with a criminal record is eligible for expungement. This article was written by Seth Thompson in representation of Philadelphia Criminal Defense Lawyer, Marc Neff.
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