If a criminal charge was dismissed and expunged, in the eyes of the law is it as though it never happened?

I was charged with a crime but it never went to trial because it was

dismissed. Then I had the case expunged.

Asked on August 16, 2018 under Employment Labor Law, Pennsylvania


M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

Yes, when a criminal charge is expunged, in the eyes of the law it is as though it never exisited. Therefore, you can truthfully answer "No" on most job applications if asked about a criminal history record. That having been said, when applying for some military and law enforcement positions, this dismissed and expunged charge may still show up. 

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

That is correct: when a case is expunged, it is as if it never occured. The purpose of expungement is to give the person a fresh or new chance, free from the stigma of a criminal record. That purpose would be defeated if you had to disclose the existence of the crime at all. You may check the box "no."

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