The process of clearing a criminal record is called an expungement. Some crimes will not qualify for expungement, no matter what you do. But many crimes can be cleared after you jump through the hoops and prove that you’re not a danger to society.
What is Expungement?
When a court orders a record to be expunged, by petition or other circumstance, it must be physically destroyed. However, the prosecuting attorney and the Pennsylvania State Police Central Repository will keep a copy of the record, but confidentially sealed. In most cases, it’s as if the record was never there. Another term used interchangeably is to “have your record sealed” under an order of limited access. But keep in mind, sealing a record is not the same as expungement.
Types of Records Eligible for Expungement
- Summary Offense Convictions: Summary offenses are low-level offenses such as traffic violations. Those carry monetary fines, and less than 90 days in jail. With five clean years after the original infraction, with no new arrests, you can apply for expungement.
- Arrest Records: If no disposition is recorded on your case within 18 months of your arrest, and there are no pending proceedings, you can apply for removal of the record.
- Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (ARD) program resolutions: Convictions resolved through your involvement in an ARD program may be eligible for expungement.
- Underage possession or consumptions of alcohol: If your record involved underage drinking (between 18-21) and you’ve completed the required terms of sentencing, you may apply for expungement.
- Aged 70+: If you are over 70, and have successfully avoided further arrest for at least ten years since your initial conviction or end of supervision, you may apply for expungement.
Ineligible Expungement Crimes
Some crimes are inexcusable, no matter the circumstances. The number one type of crime that will never be expunged are sex crimes against minors.
How Do I Apply For Expungement?
It is best to hire a lawyer, but the process can be done on your own if you wish. You’ll need to gather some documents and evidence to present with your petition.
- Copy of your criminal record
- Documentation of completed programs
- Petition for Expungement Pursuant to Pa.R.Crim.P. 490 (printable PDF)
- Read the details of the Pennsylvania General Assembly Title 18 Expungement documentation.
To begin the process of cleaning up your record, submit these documents to your local State Police office, or courthouse for further instructions.
Clean Slate Act of 2018
As of June 28, 2019, some criminal records will automatically be sealed or expunged. Convictions of second or third-degree misdemeanors or less will generally be expunged or sealed. Further, arrests with no conviction can also be expunged automatically.
Szar Bail Bonds
We’re glad you’re researching how to clean your record. Know that Szar Bail Bonds is here to help you from arrest to release and every step of the journey to a clean record. Check out more information about the Pennsylvania legal system on our blog.