Expungement — The Importance of Having a Clean Record

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.