Do I Need an Attorney to Seal/Expunge My Criminal Record in Pennsylvania?

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Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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UPDATED: Jul 15, 2021

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Once you are arrested and have been to court, you have a criminal record. This holds true for Pennsylvania as well as many other states. This criminal record is public and can be viewed by employer(s), friends, family, creditors, landlords, in-laws, and others indefinitely. Contrary to public belief, most criminal history records are not automatically sealed after the passage of a given period of time. In general, clearing your record in Pennsylvania can be a difficult and stressful process – reason enough for someone to hire an attorney.

Some of the Mistaken Ideas about Expungement: And why a Lawyer Can Help

  • Since ‘sealing’ records is different from ‘expungement,’ a lawyer will recommend which, or either, will help you the most.
  • A lawyer may be able to help you address the immediate motivation you have for seeking expungement or sealing…ranging from an employment issue to immigration problems.
  • Expungement can vary from Pennsylvania County to County…and local bar members may have unique insights into local practices.
  • Similarly, expungement does not exist at the federal level, and Pennsylvania has unique rules from neighboring states…which generally will not recognize the Commonwealth’s expungements or sealing….and a lawyer can usually best advise you.

Generally, a lawyer can assist you in assessing the strength of your argument, and helping ensure you meet qualifications for expungement; then filing the proper paperwork with the court. By properly presenting your motion and making any and all appropriate arguments to the court, a lawyer should help ensure the process goes as quickly and smoothly as possible.

For other articles on Pennsylvania expungement of criminal records, click on the following:

Overview of Pennsylvania Criminal History Record Expungements

Eligibility for Sealing/Expunging Adult Criminal records in Pennsylvania

Process for Expunging Adult Criminal Records in Pennsylvania

Sealing/Expunging Juvenile Criminal Records in Pennsylvania

Process for Sealing/Expunging Juvenile Criminal Records in Pennsylvania

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