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Benefits of Expungement in Pennsylvania

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If you have a criminal record in Pennsylvania, your chances of acquiring quality employment and housing may be significantly hindered. The economy has created an incredibly competitive workforce leaving many people without a job or place to live. With more than 80 percent of employers and landlords running background checks, it is vital that you expunge your Pennsylvania criminal record. Expunging your record may help you to find better employment, housing, qualify for financial loans, and receive a professional certificate.

In Pennsylvania, there are five types of expungements:

  1. Summary Offense Expungement
  2. ARD (Accelerated Rehabilitation Disposition) Expungement
  3. Arrest Record Expungement
  4. Adult Record Expungement
  5. Juvenile Record Expungement

What Type of Expungement are you Eligible for?

Make sure that you know which type of expungement you are eligible to receive before filing the petition for your expungement with the court. You can take a free Pennsylvania expungement test at RecordGone.com to see if you are eligible for expungement. If your offense was a summary offense (minor offenses such as underage drinking, highway obstruction, and retail theft), you may be eligible to expunge your criminal record. If you successfully completed ARD, you may be eligible for ARD expungement. At this time, Pennsylvania does not offer felony or misdemeanor reduction. If you were convicted of an adult misdemeanor or felony and did not serve ARD as part of your sentence, then you may be eligible for an adult record expungement if you are over 70 years old and have not been arrested or prosecuted of an offense for more than 10 years following your release from confinement or supervision. For more information about expungements, visit wikipedia.org/wiki/Record_sealing. For a Pennsylvania expungement form, click here for the PDF.

If you are still on probation and would like to expunge your record sooner, you may be eligible for a probation termination. By terminating your probation early, you may start the expungement process sooner and move on with your personal and professional life. If you have completed half of your probation, your chances of having your probation terminated are significantly increased. In addition, you must have complied with all terms of probation by attending court ordered classes and have paid all fines owed to the court.

While you always have the option to file for an expungement on your own, it is highly advisable to seek professional representation. An attorney will be able to conduct research for you, looking up all relevant data pertaining to your case, including researching previous cases – if applicable. When choosing an attorney, be sure to verify their success rate with expungements and check their Better Business Bureau rating. For help on picking an attorney read our guide to choosing an expungement attorney.

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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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Applying for a Pardon in Pennsylvania

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Not all cases are eligible for expungement; however, there is another option that may be beneficial. Seeking a pardon in the state where your conviction occurred may the best solution to receive criminal record relief.

In order to apply for a pardon, there are certain requirements that may need to be met and certain application procedures that must be completed. This information can be found in great detail at www.pardon411.com.

If you are applying for a pardon in Pennsylvania, below you will find the eligibility requirements and the process for applying.

To be eligible for a pardon in Pennsylavania you must:

  • Determine if you are eligible for a Pennsylvania Pardon. Please visit RecordGone.com to take the free eligibility test
  • Typically there are no minimum eligibility requirements
  • You may apply if you are still in prison

To apply for a Pennsylvania pardon:

Provide the Board of Pardons an $8.00 money order, cashier’s check, law firm check, or institution check, payable to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania to obtain your Pardon Application at:

  • The Board of Pardons
    333 Market Street
    15th Floor
    Harrisburg, PA 17126
    The Board will not accept personal checks

Obtain a copy of your Pennsylvania State Police Criminal Record by:

  • Calling the Pennsylvania State Police, Central Repository at 717-783-9973
  • Making an online request at http://epatch.state.pa.us/Home.jsp
  • Prepare personal statement
  • Letters of recommendation
  • Submit completed Pardon Application to the Board of Pardons
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Pennsylvania Voting Rights

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There are certain factors about your case that will determine if you are in possession of your right to vote. Below you will find a detailed description of these factors for voting rights in Pennsylvania.

In Pennsylvania, a person can register to vote once released from incarceration.

However, you do lose your right to serve on a jury if you have ever been convicted of a crime punishable by more than one year of prison. This right can only be restored through a Governor’s Pardon.

You can also lose your right to hold public office if you have been convicted of embezzlement of public money, bribery, perjury, or “other infamous crimes”. This too can only be restored by a Governor’s Pardon.

If you are interested in learning more about how to apply for a Pardon, visit Pardon411.com today.

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