Expungements

What is a Pennsylvania Expungement?

An Expungement is a Motion that is filed with the Court requesting that any record of past criminal charges be purged from the searchable record and any database or office that may be holding that information.

Who is eligible for Expungement in Pennsylvania?

  • Anyone who was accepted into the A.R.D. program and has paid all fines and costs and completed all of the terms and conditions of probation can apply for an expungement.
  • Anyone who pled guilty to a summary offense more than five years ago and has no subsequent criminal charges is eligible for expungement, and underage drinking charges can be expunged after the subject turns 21 years of age.
  • Anyone who was charged with any criminal charge that was dismissed, withdrawn or found not guilty after trial is eligible for expungement. Although the docket sheets may show that the case was withdrawn or dismissed many people prefer that there be no record of ever being charged at all.
  • Anyone under Section 17 supervision is automatically eligible to have their record expunged if there are no subsequent arrests, the terms and conditions of probation are met, and all fines and costs are paid.
  • Most juvenile cases are eligible for expungement at a future date – call or email us for specifics
  • Governor Wolf signed Senate Bill 166 into law on February 16, 2016.  This new bill will permit expungement of most Misdemeanor 2 and Misdemeanor 3 offenses and some ungraded Misdemeanor offenses.  Misdemeanor 1 offenses are not eligible.  The new law is not effective until 270 days after it is signed into law, so we cannot file expungement petitions under the new law until mid-November 2016.

What are the benefits of a Pennsylvania expungement?

  • An expungement gives you a second chance to have a clear record. Mistakes you made in high school or college, long before you were concerned with the job market, can be erased from your record, allowing you peace of mind as you search for a new job, apply to grad school, or coach your child’s youth sports team.
  • A criminal record is a public record. Anyone with access to the internet can search your record on the Pennsylvania Unified Judicial System. If you expunge your record you take away the ability to publicly search that record. Expungement can be extended to eliminate newspaper or other privately retained records, but this is not normally done. You should talk to your lawyer if you are interested in this option.

How does the expungement process work in Pennsylvania?

An expungement motion is filed with the appropriate supporting paperwork and filing fees at the Clerk of Courts in the corresponding county. Once it is filed it is scheduled for a hearing before a Common Pleas Judge who hears testimony and, if appropriate, signs the Order for Expungement. The Judge then returns it to the Clerk of Courts who sends certified copies to all of the agencies listed on the Motion that hold your record. Once those agencies receive a certified Order they are required to destroy all paperwork and electronic information pertaining to your case. They then mail verification to our office confirming their compliance with the Order. We monitor compliance, compel them to comply when they don’t, and collect the verifications and mail copies to you once they are all received.

Can an expungement be denied?

Yes, if the District Attorney does not think that expungement is appropriate he or she will object. You should speak with an attorney at Fairlie & Lippy, P.C., about the odds of success under your particular facts.

How long does the process take?

A Pennsylvania expungement requires a lot of paperwork that is handled by various offices. Therefore, a large part of the process is determined by the backlog of each office. We work diligently to get the appropriate paperwork filed to expedite the process as quickly as possible. Generally, the entire process can take anywhere from 3-8 months to complete, though there are exceptions.

What are the advantages of having an Attorney handle my expungement?

It is true that you could file for an expungement on your own. However, there are a number of rules and requirements to successfully file your expungement. The filing can be tedious and time consuming if you are not well versed on these requirements. We have substantial expertise in getting your Pennsylvania expungement filed as quickly, thoroughly, and efficiently as possible.

How do I get started?

If you would like Fairlie & Lippy, P.C. to assist you in the expungement of your record please contact us for a free consultation. At the consultation we will review your eligibility for expungement and quote you a fee for our work. If you would like to clean up your record call us today at 215-997-1000 or email steve@fairlielaw.net.