Pennsylvania Criminal Record Expungement Attorney

Montgomery County, PA Expungement Attorney — Clear Your Criminal Record in Pennsylvania

The term “expungement” refers to the physical destruction of records relating to an arrest. This includes literally shredding documents as well as having information on databases removed. Expungments never occur automatically — a criminal record will only be expunged if you take the appropriate steps to make it happen. Ironically, the only way to get a record expunged in PA is to file a petition, thereby creating a new case. The new case is the proceeding to have the records of the old case expunged. The court system will schedule a hearing date where a judge will (hopefully) agree to sign an Order of Expungement. This Order will instruct criminal agencies that have a record of the case to destroy their records and delete information from databases. Eventually, all criminal records of the old case (the case being expunged) and the new case (the expungement petition) will be destroyed.

How Is An Expungement Accomplished

In this day and age, employers and non-profit agencies (such as churches and youth organizations) routinely run background checks on potential employees or volunteers. If there is something on your record that can be expunged, it is important to go through the expungement process. It is certainly easier to do that with the assistance of a Montgomery County expungement lawyer. The expungement process involves multiple steps:

  • Preparing and filing an expungement petition
  • Serving the expungement petition on the District Attorney’s Office
  • Obtaining a hearing date
  • Appearing at the hearing date and convincing the judge that an expungement is appropriate
  • Obtaining a court order of expungement
  • Serving a certified copy of the court order (with the Clerk of Court seal) on the criminal agenies that have a record of the incident
  • Following up on these agencies to ensure that they have complied with the court order and expunged the record

This process takes several months to complete. It takes less time, and is more likely to be properly done, if you use the services of an expungement attorney who is determined to move the process along as quickly as possible. And, it is important to hire an attorney lawyer who will be thorough to make sure the criminal agencies have truly expunged the records including removing information from various databases.

What Records Can Be Expunged?

Pennsylvania law limits the type of criminal records that may be expunged. Only certain dispositions can be cleard from from your record. The types of record that may be expunged include:

  • Cases where the charged have been dismissed
  • Cases where the more serious charges were dismissed as part of a guilty plea
  • Cases where a person completed the Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (ARD Program)
  • Cases where a person completed Section 17 Probation (minor drug possession cases)
  • Certain Juvenile adjudications (such as Informal Adjudications and Consent Decrees)

Feel free to call the PA Expungement lawyer at the Law Office of Erik Petersen to discuss your rights and options concerning expungement your criminal record.

Aggressive Follow-Up on Expungement Petitions

To expunge a record the right way, a lawyer must be aggressive in following up on the criminal agencies who are ordered to destroy records. No one should simply assume that an agency will destroy records upon receipt of a court order telling them to do so. An expungement lawyer must follow-up with these agencies to ensure that that they have complied with the expungement order. With appropriate follow-up, I have found that criminal agencies will comply with expungement orders and a person’s record can be properly expunged. It is important to make sure by running criminal background checks on the client at the conclusion of the process.

Let a Montgomery County PA ARD Expungement Lawyer Help You

As your DUI / ARD expungement lawyer, I can help you get into the ARD Program and, at the end of the case, get your criminal record expunged. Call me today to learn how I can help you determine whether you still have a criminal record and if you are eligible for expungement. Should you retain my law office to help you expunge your record, I will explain the process and remain available to talk with you at every stage of the process until your record is completely expunged.

Criminal Record Expungement PA

A criminal record can hamper your ability to find housing and employment. At the Law Offices of V. Erik Petersen, I encourage my clients to apply for a record expungement whenever possible. Not everyone’s criminal record is eligible for expungement. At the same time, many people are walking around with expungeable offenses on their record. If you would like to find out whether your record can be expunged, contact me, attorney V. Erik Petersen, for a free consultation. I am very familiar with Pennsylvania expungement laws and will use my experience as on both sides of criminal law to help you and protect your rights.

Pennsylvania Expungement Laws

In Pennsylvania, the criteria for eligibility are narrow. A criminal record may be eligible for expungement if:

  • The verdict at trial was “not guilty.” For instance, if a person was charged with rape and simple assault, but convicted of simple assault only, the rape charge may be eligible for expungement.

  • The charges were dropped or dismissed. This is important because prospective employers and landlords often do not read far enough on a criminal record to see the words “charge dismissed.” An expungement would take care of that problem.
  • The offender successfully completed ARD. Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (ARD) is an alternative to usual sentencing procedures. It is usually only available to first time offenders. You do not go to jail. As long as you follow your probation instructions, you can have the offense expunged.
  • The crime was a juvenile crime, committed by the offender when he or she was a minor.
  • The governor pardons the offender.
  • The offender is 70 or older, and has had no criminal arrests for ten years.
  • The offender is deceased.

Again, if you or a family member fits one of the above criteria, call me, attorney V. Erik Petersen. Get an accurate assessment of your record from an experienced defense lawyer located in Harleysville, Pennsylvania.

New Expungement Laws in Pennsylvania

In today’s world, a criminal conviction can make it hard for people to maximize their professional potential (get a best possible job). Historically, no criminal convictions — no matter how minor — could ever be expunged from a person’s criminal record. The only exceptions were (1) if a person reached 70 years of age and had been crime-free for 10 years and (2) if a person had been dead for at least three years.

Fortunately, things are starting to change. In 2004, the Pennsylvania legislature changed the law to permit certain summary offense convictions (such as disorderly conduct and harassment) to be expunged if a person remained crime-free for five years.

And, in February of 2016, Governor Wolf signed into law a bill allowing for the expungement of certain misdemeanor convictions. Under this new law most misdemeanors of the second and third degree, and ungraded misdemeanors, may now be expunged after 10 years.

There are exceptions to the rule, and not all misdemeanors that fit into these categories may be expunged. Specifically, the following types of charges, although they may otherwise qualify under the new expungement law, may not be expunged:

Many exceptions to the rule exist. If any apply, you are not eligible for the new class of expungement.

• An offense punishable by imprisonment for more than two years

• Four or more offenses punishable for one or more years

• Simple Assault (misdemeanor of the second degree)

• Sexual Intercourse with an Animal

• Impersonating a Public Servant

• Intimidation of Witnesses or Victims

• Retaliation against Witnesses or Victims

• Any crime involving sex offender registration (Megan’s Law)

Limited Access Expungement Orders

The new law creates a new class of expungements — “Limited Access Expungements”. For matters that are expunged under the new law, law enforcement (the Pennsylvania State Police) must maintain the record but can only disseminate it to other law enforcement agencies. This means that the record will still exist but that the state police may not put it on its general database or disseminate the records to any individual, company or non-criminal- justice government agency.

All expungements involve seeking a court order stating that a record must be expunged. The standard expungement order provides that all government agencies with a record of the incident must destroy their records (fingerprints, photographs, police reports, etc.) and delete the information from databases. The end result is that (with some exceptions) the entire criminal record of the offense is fully expunged and cannot be found by anyone.

With the new class of expungements, judges will sign an order granting government agencies “limited access” to the criminal record. is slightly different. Under the new law, these new misdemeanor expungements are subject to a “limited access” order. That is, the presiding judge will sign an order permitting the state police to maintain the record but only permit its release to other criminal justice agencies (such as district attorney’s offices if they are running a background check on a criminal defendant). This “limited access” procedure is similar to the “sealing” of a record which is the name of the process in some other states.

Expungements Are Not Automatic

It is important to note that expungements are not automatic under the new or pre- existing law. A person must file a petition requesting the judge to sign the appropriate expungement order.

Typically, a hearing will be scheduled giving the Commonwealth (the DA’s Office) the opportunity to be heard. Often the DA’s Office will agree that expungement of the record is appropriate; however if the DA’s Office contests the petition, a judge will preside over the hearing. The goal of the expungement process is to have the judge sign the expungement order so that certified copies of the order may be served on the all the agencies that have a record of the offense.

I am Blue Bell Pennsylvania Criminal Attorney Erik Petersen and I have handles many criminal expungement cases in Pennsylvania. Call my office today to discuss how I can help you through this situation.

An expungement is a process by which criminal records are destroyed, sealed or erased. Once the process is completed, the criminal record is considered to be “expunged”. Expungments do not happen automatically — even if a person completes a first-time offender’s program such as the Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (ARD Program) or the charges are dismissed. A record may only be expunged if you take action to file an expungement petition with the Court of Common Pleas in the county in which the record exists.

The Expungement Process

To get your record expunged, you must first file an Expungement Petition with the Clerk of Courts Office. There will then be a hearing at which you lawyer will have the burden of demonstrating that the record should, indeed, be expunged. Many times the District Attorney’s Office will not object to an Expungement Petition — particularly if the charges were dismissed or the person completed the ARD Program for charges such as DUI or Retail Theft (shoplifting). But the expungement cannot occur without a hearing at which the judge signs the Expungement Order.

The Expungement Order will instruct the criminal agencies that have a record of the incident to destroy their records and delete any information relating to the incident from any databases to which they contribute.

It is important to have an expungement attorney work with you to make sure that your record is truly expunged. Even if you succeed in having a judge sign an Expungement Order, if your attorney does not aggressively follow up with the criminal agencies that have a record of the incident and contribute to the databases that people can access, the expungement process is not complete.

The Types of Records That Can Be Expunged

The unfortunate reality is that most criminal records cannot be expunged. Expungement is only available in certain cases and where specific results have occurred.

Expungements are possible after the following court dispositions:

  • Successful completion of the ARD Program
  • Successful completion of Section 17 Probation
  • All charges are dismissed or withdrawn
  • A plea bargain where the most serious charges have been dismissed
  • A summary conviction in PA where at least five years have elapsed (in certain cases)

Why Get Your Record Expunged?

Even if you are found “not guilty” in a case or successfully complete the ARD Program (resulting in the case being dismissed), the record of the case can be found in many criminal agencies and databases. This is unfortunate because people can continue to be haunted by this encounter with the law even if there was no conviction. Although there is effort and cost involved in getting your record expunged, it is absolutely worth it.

In this day and age, it is often impossible to get a job if you have anything on your record. For anyone who can get an expungement, it is important to hire the right lawyer to do the job right. Feel free to contact the Montgomery County PA Expungement Lawyer Erik Petersen to get your record expunged the right way.

No Guaranty of Expungement

There is no guaranty that you can get your record expunged even if you completed the ARD Program or your criminal charges were dismissed. You need to complete the appropriate paperwork — including filing an Expungement Petition — and then convince the judge that your record should be expunged. No one has an absolute right to an expungement. It is important to contact a lawyer so that you understand all of the required procedures and are prepared to make sure that your record is fully expunged.

To expunge a person’s record the right way, an attorney must follow the procures completely and pay complete attention to detail. It makes no sense to pursue an expungement without making sure it is done the right way. I have certainly spoken to many clients who worked — prior to working with me — thought their record was expunged but found out the hard way that it wasn’t done the right way. The sad fact is that where an expungement isn’t completed thoroughly, people (and potential employers) can still find the record.

I am certainly willing to discuss getting your record expunged for you. Please call me today to discuss getting your criminal record expunged.

Let a Montgomery County PA ARD Expungement Lawyer Help You

As your DUI / ARD expungement lawyer, I can help you get into the ARD Program and, at the end of the case, get your criminal record expunged. Call Montgomery County PA Criminal Defense/ DUI Lawyer Erik Petersen today.

I proudly defend those accused of criminal charges, drug charges, DUI, property crimes, violent crimes, weapons charges and sex offenses throughout Montgomery County, Pennsylvania. This includes Abington, Ambler, Blue Bell, Conshohocken, Haverford, Lansdale, Cheltenham Township, Hatboro, Hatfield, Jenkintown, Pottstown, Upper Merion Township, Upper Dublin Township, Lower Providence Township, Upper Moreland Township and Horsham Township.