A few weeks ago, I was at lunch with an old friend from college. After exchanging stories of our post-college lives, my friend said to me, “You are not going to believe this. Remember when I got that public intoxication charge junior year? Well, I was denied an excellent job opportunity after management ran a background check on me. Can you believe that?” I replied, “Yes, I unfortunately believe it. You should have talked to me about this before you applied for the job. I may have been able to help you out.”
If you were arrested for committing a crime and/or convicted of committing a crime, depending on the crime and circumstances, you may be eligible to have information regarding the arrest and/or conviction “expunged” from your record.
In Pennsylvania, information regarding an individual’s criminal offenses, including summary offenses, is available online for the public to view. This information is not only damaging to your reputation, but it can also prevent you from obtaining a job and housing.
What is an Expungement and How Do I Obtain One?
Expungement is the process in which a Pennsylvania court enters an order to “erase” information about specific crimes from an individual’s criminal record. 18 Pa.C.S. § 9122 governs the expungement of particular crimes in Pennsylvania. Under the statute, information involving a crime may be “erased” from your criminal record in the following circumstances:
You were not convicted of the crime.
You are twenty-one (21) years of age or older and were convicted of a crime relating to the purchase, consumption, possession, or transportation of alcohol after your eighteenth (18) birthday. However, you must have satisfied all the terms and conditions of your sentence.
You are seventy (70) years of age or older and have not been arrested or prosecuted for a period of ten (10) years after your release from confinement or supervision.
The individual has been deceased for a period of at least three (3) years.