A Guide to Expungements in Delaware County Pennsylvania by Criminal Defense Lawyers at Bauer Scanlon & Wigginton
Criminal records can impact every aspect of one’s life. From job applications to housing opportunities, a criminal record may impede your progress even if your offense was minor or occurred many years ago. But in Pennsylvania, as in many states, there’s a remedy: expungement. This article aims to shed light on the ins and outs of expungement law in the Keystone State and answer the question, brought to you by the trusted team at Bauer Scanlon & Wigginton, based in Media (Delaware County), Pennsylvania.
What is Expungement?
At its core, expungement means the removal of a criminal record or part of a criminal record from public view. It doesn’t mean the erasure of records, but rather they are sealed and can’t be accessed in regular background checks.
Who is Eligible for Expungement in Pennsylvania?
Pennsylvania’s expungement laws are tailored to allow individuals with minor offenses or aged charges to move on from their past. The eligibility for expungement in Pennsylvania includes:
Summary Offenses: If you were convicted of a summary offense and have been arrest-free for five years, you might be eligible for expungement.
Individuals 70 Years or Older: If a person is 70 years old or older and has been free of arrest or prosecution for ten years following their last release from confinement or supervision, they may be eligible.
Upon Death: Criminal records can be expunged for deceased individuals upon a family member’s request.
Non-Conviction Records: If you were arrested but not convicted, those records can be expunged. This includes cases where charges were dropped or you were found not guilty.
Juvenile Records: Pennsylvania offers opportunities for juveniles to have their records expunged, especially in instances where the offenses would have been considered minor if committed by an adult.
ARD (Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition) Program: If you’ve successfully completed the ARD program for certain offenses, you may qualify for expungement.
It’s essential to note that not all criminal records can be expunged. Serious crimes, especially those involving violence, may remain on one’s record indefinitely.
How Does the Expungement Process Work?
File a Petition: The process begins by filing a petition in the Court of Common Pleas in the county where the charges occurred. This petition outlines the reasons for requesting expungement and provides relevant details about the case.
District Attorney’s Review: Once filed, the district attorney’s office reviews the petition. They can either approve it, not contest it, or object.
Hearing: If the district attorney’s office objects to the petition, a hearing is scheduled. Here, the petitioner must prove that their right to expungement outweighs the state’s interest in preserving the record.
Judge’s Decision: After the hearing or once the DA approves, the judge will make a decision. If approved, the order for expungement is sent to the Pennsylvania State Police and other relevant agencies to action.
Completion: Once all agencies have processed the order, the record will be sealed from public view.
Why Seek Expungement?
There are numerous reasons why individuals seek expungement. Primarily, it provides an opportunity for a fresh start. By removing a criminal record from public view, individuals can apply for jobs, housing, or education opportunities without the stigma of a past offense.
Trust Experienced Attorneys
Expungement law is nuanced, and each case has its unique circumstances. For best results, it’s essential to work with experienced expungement attorneys that specialize in Pennsylvania’s criminal defense laws.
At Bauer Scanlon & Wigginton in Delaware County, Pennsylvania, our team is dedicated to helping clients understand their rights and guiding them through the expungement process. We believe in second chances and are here to assist those seeking a brighter future, free from the shadow of past mistakes.
If you or a loved one needs advice or representation related to expungements in Delaware County, Pennsylvania, call us now for a free initial 30-minute consultation at 610-590-5092.