While the basic expungement process is set forth in Pennsylvania law and the Pennsylvania Rules of Criminal Procedure, meaning that many portions of the expungement process are universal across the state, many counties have unique requirements and quirks.
- Some counties have special forms, some require extra documentation to be attached to the petition.
- Some require the petitioner to contact the district attorney prior to filing.
- Some counties automatically schedule hearings on every expungement petition filed.
Because almost every county handles expungement petitions differently, it is important to consult with and ultimately retain an attorney who has experience with filing expungement in the particular county in which your charges were filed.
State College criminal defense attorney Jason S. Dunkle has prepared and filed thousands of expungement petitions in many different counties, including Blair, Centre, Clearfield, Clinton, Huntingdon, and Mifflin. Call JD Law at 814-954-1094 or email us for a free initial consultation.
What Is an Expungement and How Does It Work?
Many people have heard about an expungement or sealing of a criminal record to hopefully keep a charge from appearing on a criminal background search report. In Pennsylvania, the term "expunge" is defined as "to remove information so that there is no trace or indication that such information existed."
Basically, an expungement is the destruction of government records that reference criminal charges. It must be emphasized that an expungement has limitations. If a private party or company has a record of the incident, such private entities cannot be forced to expunge records. For example, newspaper articles or online reports of incidents do not fall under the expungement laws.
Am I Eligible to Have Charges Expunged?
Determining whether or not a person is eligible to have charges expunged is a relatively short and quick process that can be handled by an experienced expungement attorney. Basically, the expungement attorney needs to know:
- The grading of the offense, meaning summary, misdemeanor, or felony.
- How the charge was resolved, meaning dismissed, withdrawn, not-guilty verdict, conviction or guilty plea.
- Why the charge was resolved in that manner, meaning was the dismissal the result of a court order or was it part of a plea agreement.
Eligibility to have a charge expunged is dependent upon the grading of the charge and how it was resolved. Expungement in Pennsylvania are permitted by state law, but the law governing expungement is strictly followed. This means that whether or not a person is eligible for expungement is basically black and white under the law.
While many people assume that they should be able to file an expungement petition and plead their case before a judge as to why they should be granted an expungement, a person must be eligible for expungement to have a judge legitimately consider an expungement request. If a person is not eligible, then the filing of an expungement and payment of the filing fee is simply a waste of time and money, as the judge will deny the expungement request.
A person cannot simply seek expungement of any charge and hope that the judge will allow the expungement based upon an extreme hardship or unfairness if the expungement is not granted. Step one is determining eligibility to figure out whether or not an expungement is permitted.
For more information about eligibility, review the Expungement Frequently Asked Questions link for more information or contact Centre County expungement attorney Jason S. Dunkle at 814-954-1094, or email us to discuss your case.
I Want My Conviction Expunged. What Should I Do? Call For a Free Consultation.
Determining expungement eligibility is a relatively quick and simple process for an experienced Pennsylvania expungement attorney. State College criminal defense attorney Jason S. Dunkle has prepared and filed thousands of expungement petitions in many different counties, including Blair, Centre, Clearfield, Clinton, Huntingdon, and Mifflin.
While many expungement cases are resolved amicably or without opposition by the district attorney, some expungement requests are challenged by the district attorney and thereby must be resolved via litigation and argument before a judge. Attorney Dunkle has successfully obtained expungement for clients in contested cases. He is an experienced lawyer who uses his knowledge and experience in handling criminal cases to explain your legal rights and recommend a course of action.
If you or someone your know would like to discuss the possibility of filing an expungement, you should contact JD Law by email or by calling 814-954-1094 and scheduling a FREE CONSULTATION with an experienced State College criminal defense lawyer.
Consultations can be handled over the phone or via a face-to-face meeting. Penn State students can easily walk to the JD Law Office, as it is located in downtown State College and only blocks away from the University Park Campus of Penn State.