In Pennsylvania, it is easy to have a summary offense conviction expunged from one’s record. In order for a summary conviction to be expunged, the person must simply have not been arrested or prosecuted for five years after the conviction. Often, a summary offense can be expunged even if there was another arrest after the conviction. Misdemeanors and felonies, however, are not as easy to expunge.
Typically, there are only three ways to expunge a misdemeanor or felony: 1) If the person is at least 70 years old and has been free of prosecution and out of jail for at least ten years; 2) if the person has been dead for at least three years; or 3) if the charges are withdrawn or dismissed, including by way of a governor’s pardon.
A Senate Bill that was introduced earlier in the year would enable people convicted of certain misdemeanors to expunge the conviction just as easily as a summary offense conviction. Senate Bill No. 391, introduced in February, would amend 18 Pa.C.S. § 9122(b) to allow for the expungement of misdemeanors in two scenarios:
- If the misdemeanor is of the 3rd degree or ungraded, the person must be free from arrest and out of jail for seven years; and
- If the misdemeanor is of the 2nd degree and was committed when the person was younger than 25 years old, the person must have been free from arrest and out of jail for ten years.
Note: There are some misdemeanors that are specifically enumerated in the bill as not eligible for expungement.
As of July 3, the bill was “laid on the table” (postponed) until a later date. If there are any updates to the bill or if it is signed into law, we will endeavor to post an update at that time. To read more about current Pennsylvania expungement law, see our page here.