The Pennsylvania Expungement Process can remove 7 kinds of criminal records:
- a charge where no disposition has been received for 18 months;
- non-conviction data – charges one was NOT convicted of, like ARD;
- an Underage Consumption after reaching the age of 21;
- a summary offense (like Disorderly Conduct after 5 years with no additional arrests;
- a charge that has been pardoned by the Governor;
- felony and misdemeanor convictions for an individual who reaches 70 years of age and has been prosecution-free for 10 years;
- a charge against an individual that has died.
The expungement process starts with the drafting of an expungement petition. To this is added:
- Form 490 or Form 790, as needed;
- an affidavit of completion (if necessary);
- an affidavit of accuracy;
- a PSP Criminal History or an AOPC web docket printout (as necessary),
- the correct number of copies and a filing fee.
Once the Petition is filed, the District Attorney reviews it to take a position in support, or opposition.
If the expungement is not contested by the District Attorney, the Judge will sign the order, and send it to the Clerk of Courts. The Clerk will issue copies of the Judge’s order to the parties listed in the Order. The State Police have been taking a few months to make the correction to the official criminal database. Then they will send a corrected criminal history with NO indication of the expunged offense. The Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts website (containing public records) will be corrected, and all of the national databases should be required to update their records as well.
The importance of knowing exactly what is on your criminal history
Expungements, Limited Access Petitions, and Pardons are very specific. Naturally, the first thing that MUST be known is exactly what is on the criminal record. The rules of pardons, expungements and record-sealing are explicit and precise and cannot be accurately applied to what someone ‘thinks’ is on his or her record. So, the first item of business is ALWAYS to research the criminal history to see what can be cleared and when.