Expungements Written by Jeffrey W. Miller, Esquire

Very few months pass when I do not receive a call from someone wanting to expunge an old criminal record or some public mention of a youthful indiscretion. The pervasive nature of the internet makes certain that anyone can search for records of your criminal or legal history without much effort.

Generally speaking, in Pennsylvania, a record involving conviction for a misdemeanor or felony may not be expunged except:

(1) Where the individual is 70 years old or older and has been free of arrest or prosecution for 10 years following release from confinement or supervision; or

(2) the individual has been dead for 3 years.

If the conviction at issue is for a summary offense, in order to obtain an expungement, the individual must show that he or she has been free of arrest or prosecution for 5 years from the date of conviction.

An expungement under these circumstances is discretionary with the court and will normally be granted unless the Commonwealth can show a legitimate Commonwealth interest in maintaining the record.

In some instances, a misdemeanor or felony charge may have been dismissed or the individual was found not guilty and because no conviction has occurred in these instances, the individual may apply for expungement at any time.

Some recent legislative efforts have been made to allow limited expungements for minor misdemeanor charges, but these efforts have not been successful to this point. At least for now, expungements for actual convictions for misdemeanor and felony offenses

remain extremely limited. Nonetheless, you should have an experienced attorney review your criminal history to identify all records which are potentially expungeable.