Is Expungement Worth the Trouble?

Posted by Joseph D. Lento | Jul 17, 2023 | 0 Comments

If you have an arrest or conviction in your past, you might feel as though it's just one of those things that will follow you around forever, popping up now and again to make life more difficult for you no matter how long it's been and how much you've changed over the years. Arrests and convictions can make getting a job or finding a place to live more difficult, and a felony conviction, in particular, can prevent you from doing a wide range of things that other citizens take for granted.

But what if there was a way to make those criminal records go away? So that you can tell anyone who asks that you don't have a criminal record and so that your criminal record won't show up if someone conducts a background check on you?

In certain cases, this may be possible. The process is called expungement.

What Types of Records Can Be Expunged?

Pennsylvania recognizes that, in some cases, people deserve to have a clean record. The Pennsylvania expungement statute lists the types of records that may be expunged and what the requirements are for doing so. In particular, the following types of criminal records are ones that the statute allows to be expunged:

  • Arrest records in cases where you weren't prosecuted or where you were acquitted of the charges
  • Certain alcohol-related convictions, in particular relating to the purchase, consumption, or possession of alcohol
  • Cases that were disposed of through participation in an Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition program, except for cases involving sex crimes committed against a minor
  • Lower-level offenses where more than five years have passed since the close of the criminal proceedings against you
  • If you are 70 years of age or older, and at least ten years have passed since the close of your criminal case
  • Juvenile offense records, again, in certain situations

What's the Expungement Process Like?

The expungement process can take some time because you need to jump through a number of hoops before you can get an expungement order. First, you'll need a copy of your “rap sheet,” an official listing of your criminal record. This is needed so the court considering your expungement request, knows everything that you've been arrested for, charged with, or convicted of.

You next need to complete and file a petition with the court requesting that your criminal record or records be expunged. If the court is inclined to grant your expungement request, a judge may schedule a hearing which you'll need to attend and be prepared to answer questions about your past arrests and convictions, your present life situation, and how your criminal record is affecting your life.

If the judge approves your request, the court will issue an order that will list all of the records that are to be expunged.

How Our Criminal Law Team Can Help

The key to a successful expungement petition is advance planning. Knowing what types of cases are eligible for expungement, securing the proper background records, and preparing and filing the expungement petition are all things that our Criminal Law Team and the LLF Law Firm Criminal Defense Team have done time and time again for clients in Pennsylvania. They understand the process and can help you prepare for the types of questions the judge is likely to ask in the event there is a hearing about your expungement request.

If you have questions about whether you may be eligible for expungement and how expungement can help you, call our Criminal Law Team today at 888.535.3686, or schedule a confidential appointment with the LLF Law Firm Criminal Defense Team by submitting this online form. Your past doesn't always have to follow you around – find out today whether your criminal records can be expunged!

About the Author

Joseph D. Lento

"I pride myself on having heart and driving hard to get results!" Attorney Joseph D. Lento passionately fights for the futures of his clients in criminal courtrooms in Philadelphia and across Pennsylvania as well as in New Jersey and nationwide. He does not settle for the easiest outcome, and instead prioritizes his clients' needs and well-being. With unparalleled experience occupying several roles in the criminal justice system outside of being an attorney, Joseph D. Lento can give you valuable behind-the-scenes insight as to what is happening during all phases of the legal process. Joseph D. Lento is licensed in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York, and is admitted pro hac vice as needed nationwide. In the courtroom and in life, attorney Joseph D. Lento stands up when the bell rings!


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The LLF Law Firm Team has decades of experience successfully resolving clients' criminal charges in Philadelphia and the Pennsylvania counties. If you are having any uncertainties about what the future may hold for you or a loved one, contact the LLF Law Firm today! Our Criminal Defense Team will go above and beyond the needs of any client, and will fight until the final bell rings.

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