A criminal record can negatively affect many areas of your life, especially regarding your career and educational opportunities. Job applications and educational institutions often require information regarding whether you have been previously arrested or convicted of a crime.
One way to alleviate this issue is by going through the process of criminal record expungement. This is a process that allows you to erase your criminal record. In Pennsylvania, there are specific steps you must take to go through the procedure. A criminal defense attorney can assist you in the process required to clean your record and can advise you on whether it is possible in your particular case.
What is expungement?
As stated above, expungement is the process that the court uses to erase, seal and/or destroy a person's criminal record. Expungement is not a pardon or "forgiveness" for the crime committed, but rather a process that tells the courts to treat the conviction as if it never occurred. Although your criminal record may be sealed or destroyed as far as the state courts are concerned, the process has no jurisdiction or control over information about your criminal record or conviction that has been shared online on social media, search engines, websites and the like. So it is important to understand that the expungement process is a legal process that clears your criminal record, but is not a procedure that clears the public record.
How do I get an expungement?
The expungement process begins by requesting one from the court. This is done by submitting a petition. There are specific forms to file depending on the crime you committed in Pennsylvania. After you file the petition, the court will hold a hearing to determine whether to expunge your record. If you receive approval from the court, it will issue an expungement order.
Due to the fact that petitioning for an expungement in Pennsylvania requires you to go through a court hearing, it is advisable to seek the professional counsel of a criminal defense attorney. This type of attorney has experience assisting clients with clearing their criminal records. A clean record will have the valuable benefit of allowing you to move forward in your future without having to disclose a criminal history on job applications or other official documents that require it.