How To Get Your Record Sealed or Expunged in Pittsburgh
If you’ve served your sentence and avoided any trouble with the law, you deserve a fresh start. You may be able to prevent the public from learning about your criminal record, or it may be erased from state files. Lifting the criminal record burden could help you get a job or find a home to rent.
Worgul, Sarna & Ness helps those in the Pittsburgh area who want their criminal records sealed or expunged. We can answer your questions and help you navigate the process. After you’ve fulfilled your debt, you should be able to move on with your life.
Call us at (412) 281-4146 for a free consultation. We’ll discuss your eligibility and next steps.
Expunging Your Criminal Record
Several types of records can be expunged in Pennsylvania:
- Single Summary Expungement: This can cover a single offense if five years have passed since your conviction. These are usually minor offenses like disorderly conduct or underage drinking.
- Juvenile Record Expungement: You can have misdemeanor or felony convictions removed once you’re 18-years-old or five years after your sentence. To be eligible, you can’t have any other criminal offenses.
- Underage Drinking: For those 21-years-old or older, this conviction can be removed from your record if you fulfilled all your requirements and filed a petition in the appropriate court.
- Alternate Disposition Programs: The Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition and Section 17 Disposition programs allow you to serve probation instead of being convicted. Since you were acquitted, you may be able to get the charge taken off your record after finishing probation. Some offenses don’t qualify, though.
- Charges Withdrawn, Dismissed, or Acquitted: If you’re charged, but the prosecutor drops the charge, a judge dismisses it, or you’re found not guilty, you can ask that it be removed from your record.
- Defendant Over Age 70: If you’re 70-years-old or older and haven’t been arrested or prosecuted for a crime within the last 10 years, you might be able to have your record expunged.
To get your record expunged, you must pay a fee and file a petition in the court where you were charged or convicted. Your application will be discussed at a hearing, which will determine if your case is appropriate for expungement. If your request is granted, the state police repository will be notified of your expungement. They will tell other agencies your record should be eliminated from any paper or electronic files.
Sealed Criminal Records – Not Accessible by the Public
Sealing a criminal record keeps it away from the public, but the information would be available to law enforcement and the courts. In 2019, records for some convictions started to be sealed automatically:
- Second or third-degree misdemeanors
- Ungraded offenses carrying a maximum sentence of two years in prison or less
- Non-conviction records
To qualify, you must satisfy all the terms of your court-ordered sentence and have no misdemeanor or felony convictions within the last 10 years. But, there are many exceptions to these general rules. Read www.MyCleanSlatePA.com to learn more.
You may need to petition a court to seal records concerning:
- A first, second, or third-degree misdemeanor (with exceptions)
- An ungraded offense carrying a maximum sentence of no more than five years’ imprisonment
You can apply after at least 10 years once you’ve completed your sentence. You can’t be arrested or prosecuted for any other crime punishable by a year or more in prison during that time. A court order would seal your criminal record so certain criminal justice agencies couldn’t disclose your criminal history record to the public. Like expungement, many convictions cannot be sealed.
You need to file a petition for limited access in the court with jurisdiction over your criminal record. This will most likely be the Court of Common Pleas in the county where the offenses were committed.
Worgul, Sarna & Ness Can Help You Get on With Your Life
If you qualify for an expungement, an attorney from Worgul, Sarna & Ness, Criminal Defense Attorneys, LLC can help you with the filing and process. Without assistance, you may encounter delays and wrongful denial of your petition.