Overview of Pennsylvania Criminal History Record Expungements
Get Legal Help Today
Secured with SHA-256 Encryption
UPDATED: Jun 19, 2018
It’s all about you. We want to help you make the right legal decisions.
We strive to help you make confident insurance and legal decisions. Finding trusted and reliable insurance quotes and legal advice should be easy. This doesn’t influence our content. Our opinions are our own.
Editorial Guidelines: We are a free online resource for anyone interested in learning more about legal topics and insurance. Our goal is to be an objective, third-party resource for everything legal and insurance related. We update our site regularly, and all content is reviewed by experts.
Expungement in Pennsylvania is the removal of information from your criminal history record (publicly available record under state), with the result there is no public record the information ever existed. Expungement eliminates data that could otherwise be used to trace your identity: though some remaining data may be used for statistical purposes. In no case is ALL information related to your arrest “destroyed” completely. Aside from statistical uses, your information will be preserved and accessible by judicial officers in case you are arrested and sentenced in the future. Though employers, landlords, financial lenders and similar other members of the public (e.g., who conduct background checks) will have no access to an expunged record, the judiciary retains access to determine your eligibility for bail and other aspects related to sentencing in the future.
In Pennsylvania, under some circumstances, you may be eligible to have a criminal record expunged if:
- 1. You are at least 70 years old, and at least 10 years have passed without arrest following release from prison or supervision; OR
- You are seeking to expunge certain juvenile records and sufficient time has passed since discharge; OR
- Your offense was a summary offense with no arrests or conviction of any crimes for five years after the original conviction; OR
- No disposition of the original prosecution has been received or has occurred within 18 months of the date of arrest, no action is pending; OR
- The person whose record is being expunged has been dead for three or more years before expungement.
A Pennsylvania court will also generally order expungement when charges are dismissed. In addition, if you have participated in an Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition ARDM, a program that allows for a faster sentencing and rehabilitative period, expungement is generally automatic under PA Rule 320. ARD programs are primarily used for DUIs, but are used in other situations. There are certain crimes for which expungement is not a possibility- even with participation in an ARD program. For example, a defendant placed on ARD for an offense involving sexual abuse of a minor, expungement is unavailable.
If you are eligible to have your records expunged, you may petition the court that had jurisdiction of your case for an order of expungement under the strict rules of 18 Pa.C.S.A. § 9122. The court will review the petition, consider any arguments, and—if granting the expungement—send over a certified order to the agency that is in charge of keeping your records.
For other articles on Pennsylvania expungement of criminal records, click on the following: