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.
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.
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
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
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.
As a young adult, mistakes can occur. These mistakes can follow you into your adulthood as you apply for employment and higher levels of education.
With 80% of employers conducting background checks and 66% of universities inquiring about convictions, according to the Center for Community Alternatives, sealing your juvenile record can increase the likelihood of achieving your goals as an adult.
The first step to determining if your case is eligible for a juvenile record sealing begins by reviewing if your case meets the necessary requirements.
Depending on the state your case occurred in, requirements can vary, although across most states a juvenile record sealing requires that you:
- Must be at least 18 years old
- Must not have pending charges
- Must have paid all fines and restitution
- Must have completed all terms and conditions of court ordered probation
To evaluate if your juvenile record is eligible for a sealing, visit RecordGone.com to complete the free eligibility test or call an attorney licensed to practice law in PA.
Senate Bill 391 expands expungement law to include misdemeanors of the second and third degree; however, not all misdemeanors of the second and third degree are eligible to be expunged. Not only do they have to be a qualifying offense, but the person must also have been free of arrest or prosecution following termination for the sentence for seven to ten years. Additionally, misdemeanors in the second degree are only eligible if the offense was committed when the person was 25 years old or younger.
There is a SB391 support website that you can subscribe to for more information: http://pa-expungement-now.com
The bill lists certain offenses that are not eligible. Those offenses are:
- Any offense listed under section 913 (possession of a firearm or dangerous weapon in court) in the third degree
- A violation of section 2701 (assault) in the second degree
- A violation of section 3219 (relating to sexual intercourse with an animal)
- A violation of section 4912 (relating to impersonating a public servant)
- A violation of section 4952 (relating to intimidation of public servant)
- A violation of section 4953 (relating to retaliation against witness, victim, or party)
- A violation of section 5511 (relating to cruelty to animals)
- A violation of any provision in chapter 61 (relating to firearms)
- Any violation which requires registration under 42 Pa.C.S. Ch. 97(H)