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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

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