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When you’ve been charged with a crime and either acquitted or convicted, that should be the end of it once your debts, if any, have been paid. However, a criminal record of any kind will appear on your background check when applying for things like employment, education, and housing. This is where the important legal tool of criminal record sealing or expunging comes in. Though the two processes are often confused as the same, they are actually quite different, and each state has its own policy on if sealing and/or expungement are allowed.

In Pennsylvania, the expungement of certain records is allowed under specific circumstances. An experienced West Chester criminal defense attorney will be able to review the details of your record and help you through the process of criminal record expungement.

Record Expungement Attorney in West Chester, PA

Michael Skinner is the founder of the Skinner Law Firm and an experienced criminal defense attorney in West Chester, PA. Being able to expunge the record is one of the most important protections provided under Pennsylvania law. If you have been charged with a criminal offense in Chester County or the surrounding areas of Pennsylvania including Delaware County, PA, then call our office to discuss the case.

We will carefully and skillfully guide your case through the expungement process while providing excellent customer service. To schedule your free and honest first consultation and to discuss your options for moving on with your life after a criminal charge, call us today at (610) 436-1410.

Criminal Record Expungement in Pennsylvania

Though they are often confused, criminal record sealing and criminal record expungement are two different processes. Record sealing is when your arrest and other criminal records are sealed from viewing by the public and can only be viewed by specified sources. Record expungement is when all record except for one are completely destroyed, and the one that remains is for use of law enforcement agencies only. Pennsylvania does not offer record sealing, but it does offer expungement in several different categories and scenarios.

The most basic form of criminal record expungement is governed by 18 Pa.C.S. §9122 and Pa.R.Crim.P. 320. These laws allow for expungement in the following circumstances, either automatically or through a request process:

  • Successful completion of an Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition program
  • Court order for nonconviction data to be expunged
  • Person 21 or older convicted of a violation related to purchase, consumption, possession, or transportation of alcohol after he or she turned 18 and has now met all of the requirements of the conviction
  • Individual is 70 years or older and has been free of arrest or prosecution for 10 years following final release from court supervision
  • Individual has been dead for three years
  • Individual was convicted of a summary offense and has been free of arrest or prosecution for five years

This part of the law also provides for what offenses are ineligible for this type of expunction. Your record cannot be expunged if you violated any of the following offenses and the victim was under 18 years of age:

  • Rape
  • Statutory Sexual Assault
  • Involuntary Deviate Sexual Intercourse
  • Sexual Assault
  • Aggravated Indecent Assault
  • Indecent Assault
  • Indecent Exposure
  • Prostitution and related offenses
  • Obscene and other sexual materials and performances

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Expungement of DNA Evidence in Chester County

Another form of record expungement in Pennsylvania is the expungement of DNA evidence. This is governed by Title 44, Section 2321 of Pennsylvania code and maintains that if a person has had the case against them dismissed or reversed, or the sample was included in the state DNA bank by mistake, the individual may request that all of his or her DNA records be expunged. However, this may not occur in cases where the person is in prison or previously was in prison for specific offense, especially sexual offenses, occurring before July 27, 1995.

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Expungement of West Chester Juvenile Records

Certain juvenile records, including summary offenses, are eligible for expungement as well under specific circumstances. These are outlined in 18 Pa.C.S. §9123 and include:

  • Six months have elapsed since the individual successfully completed an informal adjustment and no adjudication proceeding is pending
  • Six months have elapsed since the final discharge of the person from supervision under a consent decree or diversion program and no adjudication or conviction is pending
  • Individual is 18 years of age or older and
    • Six months have passed since he or she satisfied all terms and conditions of a summary conviction committed while he or she was under 18
    • The individual has not been adjudicated delinquent or convicted of a misdemeanor or felony
    • No such charge is pending
  •  Five years have passed since the final discharge of the person from disposition and referral, and:
    • He or she has not been adjudicated delinquent or convicted of a misdemeanor or felony or charges since
    • No such charges are currently pending
  • The district attorney consents after taking the following into consideration:
    • Type of offense
    • Individual’s age, employment history, criminal activity, and drug or alcohol problems
    • Adverse consequences facing individual if expungement is not granted
    • Retention of record is/is not required for protection of public safety

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Criminal Record Expungement Lawyer in Chester County

If you have been arrest and charged with a crime in West Chester or the surrounding areas in Chester County, including Downingtown, Exton, Malvern, Chadds Ford, and Kennett Square, contact the criminal record expungement attorneys at the Skinner Law Firm. We will investigate your case to see if you are eligible for expungement and then pursue your clean record through the process.

If you don’t qualify, we will investigate other venues of clearing your record. Call (610) 436-1410 to see what we can do for your future today.

Michael Skinner
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