Let’s face it, everyone in the Lancaster area has made a mistake during their lifetime. Luckily most of those mistakes have not resulted in a criminal record but for those who do have a criminal record they may wonder if they can ever get rid of it. In fact, a hundred million people across the U.S. have some type of criminal record and that can make it hard for them to get a job, rent an apartment, etc. It is possible for a person to have their criminal record sealed or expunged.
Expungement means that a person’s criminal record is fully destroyed. No one can see the record, including police or the courts. Expungement only applies to certain criminal records, non-conviction records which are records in which a person is charged with a crime but did not receive a conviction. In general, felonies or serious misdemeanors cannot be expunged.
Criminal records may be able to be expunged in these cases:
- Convictions for summary offenses. Disorderly conduct, loitering, etc. may be able to be expunged if a person hasn’t reoffended in 5 years.
- Crimes where a special program has been completed. These can include the Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition program or the Small Amount of Marijuana program.
- 70 years or older. A person who is 70 years or older and hasn’t been arrested in 10 years.
In Pennsylvania, many records are automatically sealed:
- Second and third degree misdemeanors without any further convictions after 10 years
- Summary offenses that are at least 10 years old
Other convictions may also be able to be sealed with a petition.
A legal professional who is skilled in criminal dense can help their client understand their options to seal or expunge their criminal records. They recognize that these records can negatively affect their client and will work to make sure their client’s future is protected.