Can I Have a Misdemeanor or Felony Expunged?
A criminal conviction can follow you throughout your life, negatively affecting future relationships and career opportunities. Getting a misdemeanor or felony expunged from your record may reduce this potential, and while it is not easy to do, it may be possible.
Under Pennsylvania law, a person with a criminal conviction may have their record expunged under certain circumstances. The complex process looks deceptively simple, but you will need to speak to an experienced criminal defense lawyer for assistance to make sure it gets done, and done completely. Contact Skinner Law Firm at (610) 436-1410 or online to schedule a free consultation and learn if we may be able to help you.
What Does Expungement Mean and How Does It Work?
Expunge means “to strike out” or “mark for deletion.” When a misdemeanor or felony is expunged from a person’s record, all records of the conviction but one are destroyed. That surviving copy may be used by law enforcement agencies only.
Having a criminal record expunged may help a former offender to move forward with their life. Examples of qualifying factors for expungement include:
- The conviction was for a summary offense (not-traffic minor criminal offense), and the offender has not been arrested or prosecuted for five years;
- The offender successfully completed the Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition program; or
- The offender is 70 years old or older, and has been free of arrest or prosecution for 10 years following 10 years of court supervision.
Juvenile records are eligible for expungement if:
- Six months have passed since the offender completed a diversion program, they have been discharged from supervision under a consent decree, and they have no pending conviction; or
- Five years have passed since the final discharge from disposition and referral, the offender has not been convicted of a misdemeanor or felony since, and they are not facing current charges.
A judge will consider public safety when deciding whether to expunge a criminal record. Other factors that may be considered include the offender’s age and the type of offense.
Convictions Not Eligible for Expungement
Some offenses are not eligible for expungement if the victim was under the age of 18, including:
- Statutory sexual assault
- Indecent exposure
- Aggravated indecent assault
Expunging DNA Evidence
Pennsylvania allows for the expungement of DNA evidence when a case is dismissed or reversed. Additional circumstances for expunging DNA evidence include prior convictions or mistakes made by the state DNA bank. The process to successfully expunge DNA evidence may be especially challenging, and best done by an experienced criminal defense attorney.
About Skinner Law Firm
A criminal record may be a barrier to a better future for you and your family. If you would like to have your record expunged, speak to an experienced criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible, and if you live in West Chester, Pennsylvania, or the surrounding region, contact Skinner Law Firm for help to move forward with your life. We will review your case and determine if your record may be eligible for expungement. For cases where expungement may not be possible, there may be other options for clearing your record.
Attorney Michael J. Skinner is a former assistant district attorney who understands the tactics prosecutors use to secure a conviction. His experience as a criminal defense attorney includes assisting Pennsylvania residents of all ages with record expungement. Contact Skinner Law Firm at (610) 436-1410 or online to schedule a free consultation and learn if we may be able to help you.