If you have a criminal record, you may be wondering if it is possible to have it expunged. Expungement is a legal process that erases your criminal record from public view. This can be a valuable tool for people who have made a mistake in the past and want to move on with their lives.
There are a number of factors that determine whether you are eligible for expungement, including the type of crime you were convicted of, how long ago it was, and whether you have any other criminal convictions.
In this blog post, we will answer some of the most frequently asked questions about criminal record expungement.
What is criminal record expungement?
Criminal record expungement is a legal process that erases your criminal record from public view. This means that your criminal record will not show up on background checks, and it will not be available to potential employers, landlords, or other third parties.
What are the benefits of criminal record expungement?
Expunging your criminal record can have a number of benefits, including:
- Increased employment opportunities
- Improved housing opportunities
- Eligibility for certain professional licenses
- Easier travel
- Reduced risk of discrimination
Who is eligible for criminal record expungement?
Eligibility for criminal record expungement varies from state to state. In Pennsylvania, you are eligible for expungement if:
- You were arrested but never charged with a crime
- You were charged with a crime but the charges were dismissed or dropped
- You were convicted of a summary offense (minor offense)
- You were convicted of a misdemeanor and have completed your sentence and probation
- You were convicted of a felony and have completed your sentence, probation, and parole, and at least five years have passed since the completion of your sentence
What crimes cannot be expunged?
Some crimes cannot be expunged, such as:
- Violent crimes
- Sexual offenses
- Crimes against children
- Crimes involving dishonesty or fraud
- Crimes that resulted in a serious injury or death
How do I expunge my criminal record?
The process for expunging your criminal record varies from state to state. In Pennsylvania, you must file an expungement petition with the court. The petition must include your criminal record and an explanation of why you believe you are eligible for expungement.
Once you have filed your petition, the court will schedule a hearing. At the hearing, you will have the opportunity to present your case to the judge. The judge will then decide whether or not to grant your petition.
How much does expungement cost?
The cost of expungement varies from state to state. In Pennsylvania, the filing fee for an expungement petition is $150. You may also need to pay additional costs, such as the cost of having your criminal record pulled.
How long does it take to expunge my criminal record?
The length of time it takes to expunge your criminal record depends on the court and the complexity of your case. In general, the process can take several months.
What happens if my expungement petition is denied?
If your expungement petition is denied, you may be able to refile it after a certain period of time. You may also be able to appeal the judge's decision.
Criminal Record Expungement FAQs
Q: What is the difference between expungement and sealing?
A: Expungement erases your criminal record from public view, while sealing hides it from public view. When your criminal record is sealed, it is still available to law enforcement and certain other government agencies.
Q: Can I expunge my criminal record if I have a juvenile record?
A: Yes, you may be able to expunge your juvenile record, depending on the state you live in.
Q: Can I expunge my criminal record if I have a federal conviction?
A: No, you cannot expunge a federal conviction.
Q: What happens if I lie on my expungement petition?
A: Lying on your expungement petition is perjury, and it is a crime. If you are convicted of perjury, you could face jail time and other penalties.
Q: Where can I get more information about criminal record expungement?
A: You can contact your local clerk of courts or a criminal defense attorney for more information about criminal record expungement.
Criminal record expungement can be a valuable tool for people who have made a mistake in the past and want to move on with their lives. If you believe you may be eligible for expungement, you should contact a criminal defense attorney to discuss your case.