How to Expunge or Expunge Pennsylvania Adult Criminal Records
A criminal record can have a very serious negative impact on your life. It may damage your reputation, decrease your earning capacity, prevent you from obtaining licenses or certifications in certain professions (for example, lawyer or teacher), or prevent you from being employed. To the extent possible, if you have such a record, you should delete it as soon as possible.
In Pennsylvania, to have an adult criminal record expunged, an individual must file a Petition for Expungement with the Court of Common Pleas in the county in which the crimes occurred. At the time the petition is filed, a hearing is scheduled before a judge who will determine whether the cancellation request should be granted.
With two exceptions, only non-conviction data can be deleted. Non-conviction data includes:
1. Arrest records showing no disposition after 18 months and the court of appropriate jurisdiction certifying that no action is pending.
2. Cases that were dismissed or discharged for lack of evidence or failure to prosecute or because there was no post-trial determination of guilt.
3. Cases that were dismissed or discharged because the offender successfully complied with the terms and conditions of certain pretrial dispositions, such as the ARD (Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition) program.
Conviction data can be expunged when the offender is 70 years old and has been free from arrest for at least ten years after their final release from supervision. It can also be erased when the offender has been deceased for at least three years.
In determining whether the cancellation request should be granted, the court will consider many factors. These include damage to the individual’s reputation, future livelihood and earning capacity, the nature and seriousness of the crime, the individual’s criminal history, and the state’s interest in preserving the record to protect the public.
State law specifically prohibits courts from expunging records, even if the offender has successfully complied with the terms of the ARD where he or she has been charged with certain sexual assault or related crimes against victims under the age of 18.
The expungement order will be sent immediately to the Pennsylvania State Police Central Criminal Records Information Repository in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. This agency will disseminate the removal order to all other agencies that have previously received the information that is the subject of the order. .
It is important to have complete and accurate criminal history information when submitting your application. The Petition and proposed Cancellation Order are required by law to contain information such as the subject’s name, date of birth, social security number, crimes with which the subject was charged, case file number, follow-up of the crime and the disposition of the box. If this information is not contained in the Petition, the court will dismiss it.