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Defending a Theft Charge in Pennsylvania

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Defend a Pennsylvania theft charge

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If you are considering defending your Pennsylvania theft charge, it is important that you understand what type of theft you were charged with to better understand what defense opportunities are available to you. Regardless of whether your theft charge was as a juvenile or adult, you may be able to defend your Pennsylvania theft charge by having it removed from your record.

Expunging a First Time Theft Offense

If, for instance, you committed petty retail theft that was considered to be a summary offense, you may be eligible to expunge the theft charge from of your criminal record so that the incident is removed from public view. If you were convicted for a theft charge, but received ARD (Accelerated Rehabilitation Disposition) as part of your sentencing, you may also still have the option to expunge your theft charge from your criminal record. ARD is a court program that is typically given to first time offenders who are unlikely to commit another crime. If you successfully completed all of the terms of your ARD program, then the theft charge against you is dismissed and the conviction is considered to have never occurred.

If you are ineligible for Pennsylvania ARD

Pennsylvania theft charges that resulted in a conviction that did not receive ARD as part of the sentencing can be expunged as an adult, but must comply with the terms of Pennsylvania’s adult expungement regulations. As such, if your theft charge did not quality to be considered a summary offense and resulted as a conviction, then you must wait until you turn 70 years of age and must have refrained from being arrested or prosecuted in over 10 years from the time of your release from confinement or supervision.

To better understand the guidelines for theft charges in Pennsylvania so that you know how to defend yourself and expunge your criminal record, visit the Pennsylvania Bar Association website at http://www.pabar.org/. When investigating the terms of your particular theft charge, take into consideration whether or not you are a first time offender, and the severity of your theft. Elements to consider are if anyone was injured during the theft and the value of the item(s) you were charged with stealing. Pennsylvania’s laws about theft are complicated. If you do decide to defend your theft charge in the court of law, then you should hire an attorney who is licensed by the Pennsylvania state bar. More information on record expungement can also be found at http://www.recordgone.com/.

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Why Expunge a DUI Arrest in Pittsburg?

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Pittsburg is the second largest city in Pennsylvania, and offers an abundance of employment opportunities for qualified applicants. With a population of over 306,200 in Pittsburg, the job market is also that much more competitive. Do not allow a past DUI arrest on your criminal record prevent you from passing background checks for employment. By expunging your DUI arrest from your Pittsburg criminal record, you are taking a proactive step toward providing a better life for yourself and your family.

Most employers and landlords run background checks as a prescreening process. Typically, applicants with offenses on their criminal record are eliminated immediately. This reality is particularly harsh for offenders who are trying to reenter the workforce or expand their career opportunities, since not passing criminal background checks will prevent them from being considered for a position even before their application reaches human resources. In the event that you are given the opportunity to interview for the position, having to explain the circumstances of your DUI arrest can not only be embarrassing, but may still prevent you from getting the job or promotion for which you are applying. Expunging your DUI arrest may help you to pass background checks for employment, allowing your resume to speak for itself. Your accomplishments and qualifications should be what stands out, not your DUI arrest.

How do I Expunge my DUI?

Fortunately, when you expunge your DUI arrest in Pittsburg, the court sends orders to the PA State Police and to the PA Department of Transportation to remove all evidence of your offense. Once your DUI arrest is expunged, you can legally deny the occurrence of your DUI arrest on applications for employment and housing. Expunging your DUI arrest will also update your DMV records so that there is no record of your DUI arrest. For more information about how expunging your DUI arrest affects your DMV record, and for information about alcohol and drug awareness, visit the DMV.org website at http://www.dmv.org/automotive-law/dui.php.

No longer endure the stigma of having a DUI arrest on your Pittsburg criminal record. Expunging your DUI arrest proves to others that you have recognized the error of poor judgment and have since dedicated yourself to living a responsible and healthy life. A granted expungement means that a judge has deemed that you are worthy of a new start in life, and by passing background checks for employment and housing, hopefully you will be able to begin your journey.

Want to learn more about clearing your record? Read our how to expunge a Pennsylvania record.

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What is a Conviction in Pennsylvania?

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In Pennsylvania, a conviction is the result of a criminal trial in which the defendant has been found guilty of a crime. In Pennsylvania, having a conviction may be the difference between being eligible, or ineligible, for an expungement, depending on the offense. If you were arrested for a crime, but not convicted of the crime for which you were arrested, then you may be eligible for an arrest record expungement. If you were convicted as an adult for a summary offense, or were convicted and successfully completed ARD (Accelerated Rehabilitation Disposition), you may be eligible to have your conviction expunged from your criminal record.

In Pennsylvania, there are a few ways in which a person can be convicted of a crime. An offender can be convicted of a crime by deciding to plea guilty or nolo contendere. In pleading guilty, the defendant accepts responsibility for the offense that he or she was accused of committing. In pleading nolo contendere, no contest, the defendant neither accepts nor denies guilt for the crime for which he or she is accused. Such a plea allows the judge to determine the defendant’s guilt and consequent conviction. If the defendant wishes to fight the charges for which he or she has been accused, then a judge or jury will determine the verdict of their case. If the defendant is found guilty, then the presiding judge will determine his or her conviction and sentencing.

Once the defendant is convicted for his or her adult Pennsylvania offense, he or she will either be convicted of a summary offense or an adult conviction. If the offense was not a summary offense and the defendant did not receive ARD as part of their sentencing, then the accused must wait until he or she turns 70 years of age and cannot have been arrested or persecuted for a crime for the ten years following the release from confinement or supervision, or the defendant must have been dead for three years to be considered for eligibility for an expungement.

By expunging your Pennsylvania conviction, you are removing any occurrence of an arrest or conviction from your criminal record. As such, you can legally say that you were not convicted of a crime. Expunging your conviction may help you to pass most background checks for employment and housing, which may help you to find a quality job. To begin searching for jobs in your area, visit tips for ex-felons searching for jobs. It is from a nevada based expungement site, but the tips can be applied in any state.

If you have had trouble in the past trying to get your record cleared, these new Pennsylvania law changes could mean that you are now eligible to get your record expunged.

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How to Expunge a Criminal Record in Philadelphia

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Philadelphia is the largest city in Pennsylvania and is known for its wealth of art and rich culture. While Philadelphia has a great deal to offer its citizens, if you are being deprived of employment due to your criminal record, it may be difficult to afford the fruits of the city. If you were arrested without a conviction, or were convicted of a summary offense or received ARD (Accelerated Rehabilitation Disposition), you may be eligible to expunge your Philadelphia criminal record. The expungement process is complex and time sensitive, which is why it is imperative that you understand how to expunge your Philadelphia criminal record prior to embarking upon the process.

The first step in expunging your criminal record in Philadelphia is determining your eligibility. There is a filing fee to petition for an expungement with the court, so it is advisable to make sure that you are eligible for an expungement prior to filing. You will file the petition for your expungement with the courthouse that has jurisdiction over where your original hearing occurred. You can contact the court clerk for specific information about your case. When you file your petition, you may need to know the name of the arresting agency, the disposition of your case, and the relevant dates of your case. The easiest way to determine whether or not you are eligible is to take a free expungement eligibility test. It is a quick and easy test that will help you know if you can move forward in the process of clearing your record.

I am eligible for Expungement. Now What do I do?

While you always have the option to file for the petition on your own, it is highly advisable to seek the representation of a licensed professional. Hiring an attorney is an investment in your case and in your future. The right expungement attorney will be well versed in Philadelphia’s expungement laws and as such will be able to confidently navigate you through the expungement process from beginning to end.

You hire an expungement attorney for the following reasons:

  • Research your case and any relevant past offenses
  • File the petition for your case
  • Complete and submit all necessary documents properly and promptly
  • Prepare all evidence and testimonies necessary to prove to the judge that you are rehabilitated and are worthy of an expungement
  • Represent you in court in the event that the District Attorney objects to your case
  • Help ensure that your expungement case is successful and handled as quickly as possible

If you cannot afford to have an attorney represent you, contact your local public defender to represent you for a relatively low cost or for free. You can find information about your Philadelphia public defender by viewing their website at http://www.philadefender.org/.

For general information on expunging your record in Pennsylvania, you can find more information at how to expunge a record in Pennsylvania.

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Expungement Bill Passed by Pennsylvania State Senate Committee

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Posted on June 17, 2013
Decorative Scales of Justice in the CourtroomThe Pennsylvania Senate Appropriations Committee passed expungement Senate Bill 391 on June 17, 2013. SB 391, sponsored by Tim Solobay, the Senator of Pennsylvania, amended Pennsylvania’s preexisting expungement law so that qualified offenders with low-level misdemeanor convictions can expunge their conviction after proving that they are rehabilitated and by satisfying the necessary waiting period.

The current law does not allow offenders under 70 years old to expunge their Pennsylvania misdemeanor, regardless of how much time has passed since their misdemeanor conviction. In addition, the offender must wait until he or she is over 70 year of age and cannot have been convicted of an offense in over 5 years. Otherwise, the offender must wait until he or she has been dead for over three years.

While a posthumous misdemeanor expungement may exonerate the former offender, the absolution does not change the quality of life for the departed and does nothing for society. According to RecordGone.com expungement attorney Jenna Thorne, “this bill provides needed relief for many deserving people. It will also benefit the citizens of Pennsylvania, because the new law will help to reduce recidivism rates by allowing more former offenders to secure gainful employment and support themselves.”

Expungement for those with Second or Third Degree Misdemeanors

SB 391 will allow offenders who have second or third degree misdemeanors to apply for an expungement if he or she has not committed another offense within the given timeframe. Second-degree offenders must wait seven years to petition for an expungement, and third-degree offenders must wait ten years before petitioning.

Senator Solobay stresses the necessity for expungement reform stating that “this bill recognizes genuine efforts at rehabilitation; it makes sense for our justice system and it makes sense for taxpayers.” By allowing rehabilitated offenders the opportunity to expunge their misdemeanors from their criminal record, crime rates will reduce and unemployment will lower significantly.

SB 391 will enable former offenders to become self-reliable and contribute to society, rather than being forced into a continuous cycle of dependence as a result of being labeled a criminal, which will benefit both former offenders and citizens of Pennsylvania.

To find out more, read our previous article about senate bill 391.

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Felony and Misdemeanor Expungement for Pennsylvania

Felony and Misdemeanor Expungement for Pennsylvania

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Even if you were arrested and no charges were filed, you have a criminal record for life. That record can cause you to be unfairly prejudiced when you apply for jobs or housing. A simple arrest can cause you to have a record a several state law enforcement agencies.

When a person is arrested in Pennsylvania, that arrest record is transmitted to various law agencies. The local police, county police, state police and federal government all share information about the arrest and conviction.

Criminal records can haunt a person for life. Unless the record is expunged, it can cause a lifetime of problems when doing things most people do like applying for a job or traveling abroad.

See If You Are Eligible for Pennsylvania Expungement
Expungement laws are often complex and determining if you are eligible for expungement is not easy. Make sure to consult a licensed attorney. Do not let anyone tell you that you are not eligible unless they are an attorney who knows Pennsylvania expungement law. You can take a free online expungement eligibility test created by lawyers at RecordGone.com

Research Shows Growing Need for Expungement And Record Sealing Laws
A recent study by the prestigous Pew Research firm shows that one in every 31 adults in the United States is in the corrections system, which includes jail, prison, probation and supervision, more than double the rate of a quarter century ago. The report was released in March of 2009.

The study, which said the current rate compares to one in 77 in 1982, concluded that with declining resources, more emphasis should be put on community supervision, not jail or prison.

A natural consequence of this study is that there is a need for states to have laws to allow a select few of these people to have their criminal conviction expunged or sealed. Expungement and record sealing allows deserving people to have a second second chance and can greatly reduce the likelihood that a person will reoffend.

Seek a Specialized Expungement Attorney
Any Pennsylvania attorney can represent you in court, but selecting a specialized expungement greatly increases your chances of a successful expungement. An attorney that specializes in expungement knows the rules and procedures of the Pennsylvania courts, and is able to expunge your record sooner for a lower price.

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