It depends. There are limited circumstances under which you can expunge your record if you are ultimately convicted or plead guilty to a crime. However, if you entered the Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition Program, if you have certain summary convictions, or if you have arrests but were not convicted, you should talk with an attorney about your options. A criminal history can prevent you from obtaining certain employment or schooling; it can affect your eligibility for renting apartments and can prohibit you from receiving certain benefits, loans or assistance programs.
How Can I Expunge My Criminal Record?
Once convicted, it is unlikely that you will be able to expunge your criminal history. However, the Crimes Code allows for records to be expunged in certain summary offenses, juvenile offenses, or if the individual meets the following criteria:
1) The individual is 70 years of age or older and has been free from convictions for the past 10 years; or
2) The individual has been dead for three years.
Summary offenses can be expunged if the individual has been free from arrest for five years following the conviction. If the individual was convicted of a summary offense related to underage drinking, was 18 years old or older at the time of the offense, is currently over 21, and successfully completed all requirements following the conviction, the individual may request that the record be expunged.
Juvenile offenders can ask that their records be expunged after the reach the age of 18, assuming they meet the criteria for expungement in Title 18, Section 9123.
How can I Expunge my ARD Record?
If you entered the Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition Program, you may petition the court to expunge your arrest record. Keep in mind that if you received ARD for a DUI charge, while your arrest record can be expunged, your driving record will sill reflect that your license was on a DUI-related suspension.
How can I Expunge my arrest record?
In many circumstances you may have an arrest on your record which never resulted in a conviction. Most often the reason for this is that you entered into some sort of plea agreement to a lesser charge in exchange for the dismissal or nolle pross of the remaining charges. Your right to get those charges which did not result in a conviction expunged from your record is protected by the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. You may petition the court for a Wexler Hearing and present factors relating to your ability to obtain employment, the reasons the charges were not prosecuted, the strength of the case against you and any other relevant factor.
Do I need an Attorney to have my Record Expunged?
Individuals seeking to expunge their records under the above listed conditions must file a petition with the court and provide notice to the district attorney. An experienced criminal defense attorney in Pennsylvania can help you through the expunction process. If your convictions do not fall into any of the above categories, you should talk with an attorney about an application to the Board of Pardons.