Can I have a felony drug conviction expunged?
For practical purposes, the answer is no. The exungement process in Pennsylvania is NOT based upon need or want. A felony conviction may prevent a person from getting a job, but that does not mean that the person can obtain an expungement. In order to seek an expungement, the law must expressly allow it. The expungement law in Pennsylvania allows a felony to be expunged ONLY if: 1) person has been dead for 3 years; OR 2) if the person is 70 years old and has not been convicted of a new offense within 10 years of completion of the sentence. So, if a person is dead or so old that they are unlikely to need a job, they are permitted to seek an expungement of a felony conviction. Therefore, a person with a felony conviction in Pennsylvania basically has no opportunity to seek a pardon or seek an Order for Limited Access to seal the record.
Pennsylvania Pardon of Felony Drug Conviction
Instead of an expungement or a sealing of a criminal record, a person with a misdemeanor or felony conviction must first seek a pardon of the conviction from the Pennsylvania Board of Pardons. If a person is able to receive a pardon, then the conviction is set aside, and a person’s legal rights are returned. For example, Pennsylvania felony drug conviction prohibits a person from possessing a firearm. If a person receives a pardon, then the lifetime firearm prohibition is removed.
A pardon can make your record eligible for expungement
While you would think that a pardon would clear a record, it does not. The pardon only sets aside the conviction, but the record of the case still exists. However, because the person is no longer convicted, the person is now eligible to go through the expungement process to have records of the incident destroyed. For more information about cleaning up criminal records in Pennsylvania via expungements, Orders for Limited Access, or a pardon, contact an experienced criminal defense attorney at the State College firm of JD Law at (814) 954-7622.