A criminal conviction in your past can be a difficult thing to move past. Perhaps you had one too many glasses of wine with dinner and got pulled over for a broken taillight, or got caught pulling a prank against a rival fraternity or sorority in college. Maybe you were having hard financial times and took something from a store without paying. Regardless of the reasons, if there is a criminal conviction on your record, it can affect your life in many negative ways.
Fortunately, under Pennsylvania law, certain convictions can be expunged after five years have passed, provided that you have been free from arrest or prosecution. Here are four of the reasons that, if eligible, you should talk to an attorney about having your record expunged immediately.
A study conducted by HR.com indicates that the overwhelming majority of employers (97 percent) conduct a background check on job applicants. Any criminal conviction, however minor, could substantially hurt your chances of getting a job. When you a criminal record expunged, however, the conviction will not appear on any background check, and you are legally allowed to answer “no” if an employer asks whether you have ever been convicted of a crime.
Landlords often inquire regarding an applicant’s criminal history and are often hesitant to rent to a person who has a criminal record. This is true regardless of the type of crime of which a court convicted you, as any criminal activity can negatively affect property values and make a property seem less desirable to prospective tenants.
A criminal conviction is a matter of public record. This means that anyone—including friends, family, coworkers, or someone you just met on a dating app—can find out about your conviction with a few clicks of a mouse. Fortunately, when a court grants a motion to expunge a criminal record, the record will be removed from all public databases.
Finally, if you choose to pursue a professional license in nursing, law, medicine, accounting, finance, or any other regulated profession, a criminal conviction may hold you back. Importantly, in some cases, you may still need to disclose the existence of the conviction even if you successfully had it expunged, but at least an expungement will show that you are taking steps to move on with your life and that you take the matter as seriously as you should.
If you have a criminal record or are currently facing criminal charges in Pennsylvania, speak to a criminal defense lawyer as soon as you can. A lawyer may help you clear your existing record and prevent the state from convicting you in the first place. To schedule a free case evaluation with a criminal defense lawyer in Chester County, Pennsylvania, call our office today at (610) 436-1410 or contact us online.