As is often the case with legislation, the applicable statutory language regarding the expungement of a criminal record in Pennsylvania is fairly complex. Thus, it is much easier to explain some of the rules regarding the expungement process and its impact in Pennsylvania by answering the questions that are most often raised by those inquiring about the process.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is an expungement?

An expungement is a legal process through which specified information about certain types of prior criminal offenses can be removed from an individual’s criminal record. Following an expungement, there is no indication in the state’s databases that the removed information ever existed.

Does an expungement remove the entire criminal record?

No. What an expungement does is remove all the identifying information in a criminal record that is directly traceable to a specific individual or specific individuals. Other non-personal information is allowed to remain—and can be used for statistical analyses and other administrative actions.

Will expunged records show up in a criminal background check?

In general, any expunged information will not show up in a criminal background check. That same information, however, will be obtainable by law enforcement officials and the courts if they need it to determine an individual’s eligibility for alternative punishment programs, to identify an individual who is part of a criminal investigation, or to determine an individual’s punishment for a future crime.

What specific records can be expunged?

In general, all information and records regarding the alleged offense may be expunged. This would include, but would not necessarily be limited to, personally identifiable descriptions, details regarding indictments and arrests, and information concerning the disposition of any charges.

How does someone obtain an expungement?

Although a few types of records will be automatically expunged, the process generally requires the filing of a petition with the court that has jurisdiction over the records in question. Thereafter, if the petition is granted, the court must send a certified order to the agency in control of the records in order to effectuate the expungement.

Call a Local Expungement Lawyer Today

If you are seeking to have a past criminal record expunged, call the Skinner Law Firm today at 610-436-1410 for a free consultation or send us an email through our online contact form. Let us help you resolve this matter.

Article Author

Michael J. Skinner, the founder of Skinner Law Firm LLC, is a former prosecutor with the Chester County District Attorney’s Office.

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