Can A Lawyer Help Get My Criminal Record Expunged?
Many people receive convictions in criminal cases that they would like to have removed at a later date. This is actually possible in many cases prosecuted in Pennsylvania. Defendants are evaluated for approval per the charge, and while some expungements fall into an automatic category, other specific types of convictions cannot be expunged. Certain limitations will apply to any expungement request as well and knowing beforehand what the possibility for expungement may be is important for those wanting to clean up their criminal history. This is why it is always best to retain an experienced Philadelphia criminal defense lawyer before filing the legal motion to seal a conviction.
How Expungement Works in Pennsylvania
Any sealing of a criminal record begins with a petition submitted to the court of jurisdiction where the case was finalized. The court then certifies the request after evaluating the criteria for eligibility. Applicant age and the amount of time lapsed since the date of satisfaction for all penalties is the first consideration. Petitioners who are over 70 years of age and have not had any criminal convictions for the previous five years are generally automatically approved unless the nature of the crime exempts them from sealing the court record. Expungements can also be received for individuals who have passed on after three years from their death. In addition, defendants who receive alcohol-related charges between the ages of 18 and 21 fall under a specific law that allows expungement after all penalties are completed and a sufficient amount of time has passed without any subsequent charges.
A primary reason defendants wanting a record expungement need aggressive legal counsel is the fact that many individuals convicted for certain crimes cannot have the record removed from public viewing. Expunging a criminal record in Pennsylvania is not a removal of the incident from state Department of Justice records. It is merely a sealing of the record from public ability to view the criminal history of the petitioner. This helps certain people with respect to obtaining employment and housing. Law enforcement officials can still view all of the information from the case, which can also be used in any subsequent criminal investigation. Officials will also know when the defendant has requested expungement of a prior case. The exempt types of criminal records include:
- Various rape and sexual assault cases
- Indecent exposure cases
- Prostitution and solicitation cases
- Possession of obscene material cases, including child pornography
Knowing where you stand with the legal system is important for any expungement petitioner in Pennsylvania, and the best method of ensuring your request may be approved is by retaining an experienced and aggressive legal team like the criminal defense professionals at the Law Offices of Richard J Fuschino Jr for comprehensive representation.