Expunging Your Record After a Dismissal
If you’ve been arrested and charged with a crime in Pennsylvania, your main concern will likely be whether or not you’ll be convicted. As a result, you should hire an attorney and fight the charges. Ultimately, and to your relief, the charges are dismissed. This could be because you had proof of your innocence or perhaps the police violated your constitutional rights. Regardless, this is a victory, because no one wants a criminal conviction on their record.
However, the mere fact that you were charged can still be an embarrassing blemish. It’s usually best to pursue an expungement to have the matter completely sealed from view. And with an experienced attorney, the expungement process in Pennsylvania can be relatively straightforward.
To discuss your options for obtaining an expungement after a dismissal, call contact Worgul, Sarna & Ness, Criminal Defense Attorneys, LLC. We’ll guide you through the process, advise you of your options, and handle the matter on your behalf.
Dismissed Charges May on Your Criminal Record
Unfortunately, many people are surprised to discover that any criminal charge will appear on your criminal record, even those that are dismissed. This means that it will appear on a background check performed by potential employers, volunteer groups, or other entities that screen the people they work with.
The laws vary as to what extent employers and organizations can obtain and use this information, but if they are included in your background check, it’s impossible to say whether or not your charges factor in their decision. The truth of the matter is that even charges that were dismissed could have negative consequences for your future.
The good news is that you may be able to get your charges erased from your record. Depending on the situation, you may qualify for an expungement – a legal proceeding whereby your criminal charges are removed from your record as if they never happened.
The Benefits of an Expungement
There are multiple benefits to having your charges expunged from your record. As mentioned above, your charges will not appear on your criminal record.
If you have to submit to a background check, potential employers, landlords, and anyone else will not know anything about your prior charges. In addition, an expungement allows you to truthfully answer “no” when asked if you have a criminal history.
Are You Eligible for Expungement?
State laws vary widely as to who is eligible for expungement and who is not. Most states allow people to have dismissed charges expunged.
However, there may be other requirements such as:
- Your case has been fully adjudicated.
- You have met any required waiting period.
- You have not been charged with any other crimes.
- If your charges were dismissed as part of a plea agreement, you have completed all the terms of the agreement, such as treatment programs, community service, or payment of any fines.
An experienced Pennsylvania expungement lawyer can help you determine whether your charges are eligible for expungement.
How to Have Your Charges Expunged
Generally speaking, you begin the expungement process by filing a petition consisting of various forms that you will have to complete. The process may also include:
- Providing notification to the prosecution and any victims
- Certifying that you are eligible for expungement
- Providing a copy of the final disposition of your case
Most expungements are handled without a hearing. However, if the prosecutor objects to the expungement or there is something unusual with your case, you may need to appear before a judge.
How an Expungement Lawyer Can Help
The expungement process is fairly direct, but there are some aspects that can be complicated. Mistakes can cost you valuable time and possibly jeopardize your expungement. Hiring an expungement lawyer who practices in your state can help you get your expungement quickly and without issue. If there are problems with your case, your lawyer will know what steps need to be taken to fix them so that you can move forward with getting your charges expunged.
To discuss your options for an expungement in Pennsylvania, call contact Worgul, Sarna & Ness, Criminal Defense Attorneys, LLC. Call our office today at (412) 281-2146 or fill out our online contact form.