Can I have a Pennsylvania misdemeanor conviction expunged?

By Jason Dunkle on G+

For practical purposes, the answer is no. Misdemeanor drug charges, such as Possession of a Small Amount of Marijuana, 35 P.S. 780-113(a)(31), Simple Possession of Drug, 35 P.S. 780-113(a)(16), and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia, 35 P.S. 780-113(a)(32), can normally what can be expunged only be expunged if the charges are dismissed, and charges are dismissed by completing
the ARD program, through an agreement with the district attorney, or by litigating the case and having a judge issue a dismissal order.

The expungement law in Pennsylvania is set forth in section 9122 of the Crimes Code and generally allows the expungement of non-convictions. There are two exceptions to the general rule. The first exception is that if a person is 70 years old and has been free of arrest and prosecution for ten years following final release from confinement or court supervision. The second exception is if the person has been dead for three years. Obviously, the exceptions the general rule that misdemeanor and felony convictions cannot be expunged are not very helpful or useful to most people. The Pennsylvania legislature did amend section 9122 relatively recently to allow for the expungement of summary offenses, but the amendment did not create exceptions for the expungement of either misdemeanor or felony convictions.

In Pennsylvania you must seek a Pardon

A person with a misdemeanor or felony conviction must first seek a Pennsylvania pardon of the conviction from the Pennsylvania Board of Pardons. If a person is able to receive a pardon, then the firearm possession prohibitionconviction is set aside, and a person's legal rights are returned. For example, a felony conviction prohibits a person from possessing a firearm. If a person receives a pardon, then the lifetime firearm prohibition is removed. Also, if a person receives a pardon, then the charges are eligible for expungement. A petition to expunge must be filed with the court, and the person must convince the judge to grant the expungement and thereby issue an expungement order.

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