Do I need to report an expunged conviction of Underage Drinking?

Pennsylvania Criminal Charge Expungement Lawyer

It is almost impossible to get a lawyer to give you a definitive “yes” or “no” answer, and the reason is that it really does depend upon the circumstances. The law on the issue is found at 18 Pa.C.S. 9122.5, which states that “except if requested or required by a criminal justice agency….an individual may not be required or requested to disclose information about the individual’s criminal history record that has been expunged.” It further states that “an individual required or requested to provide information in violation of this section may respond as if the offense did not occur.” What does that actually mean? A person can generally act as if the offense did not happen and not report it when questioned, but there are exceptions.

Also, it must be emphasized that many applications are allowing a person to not report prior offenses if the matter has been expunged. The question will include language like “a prior offense need not be reported if it has been expunged or subjected to limited access.”

Reporting an Expunged Charge

Expunged offenses are more likely to be reported in two situations: 1) professional licensing; AND 2) jobs in which Federal agencies are involved.  With professional licensing, meaning lawyer, doctors, nurses, engineers, and accountants, some licensing boards mandate that even expunged offenses are reported, but others exclude reporting for expunged offenses. It is obviously critical to review the questions carefully to determine whether or not reporting is required. Under situation 2, people seeking jobs in the financial industry are often subject to regulations with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). They are often required to report all prior offenses, including ones that were expunged.

If a prior offense must be reported, the person is often to “describe and explain.” A critical mistake that is often made is that the person writes a novel to try and explain or justify the situation. The better approach is to be concise, focusing on the procedural history, meaning the charges and the resolution. The longer the story that is written, the more attention that is drawn to the negative. Avoiding TMI is very important. If the person had an attorney for the case, the attorney can help explain the best way to described a prior offense.