Pittsburgh Expungement Lawyer | Worgul, Sarna & Ness, Criminal Defense Attorneys

Call (412) 281-2146 today

When you’re charged and convicted of a crime, the black mark on your record can have a devastating ripple effect on the rest of your life. A criminal record can affect your opportunities when it comes to finding employment, renting a house or apartment, maintaining your immigration status, keeping custody of your children, holding or obtaining a professional license, traveling outside the United States, enrolling in colleges or universities, and more.

Sometimes, however, Pennsylvania law recognizes that there are circumstances when you should be allowed to leave a criminal conviction behind and move on with your life without forever being judged based on a minor offense. If you committed a single minor offense, or you were never convicted of the crime with which you were charged, you might be able to have your charge or conviction expunged. Expungement is the legal term for having something removed from your record. You may have also heard about criminal pardons, which are different than expungements.

If you’re looking for a Pittsburgh expungement lawyer near you, call us today at (412) 281-2146 to schedule a free and confidential case consultation.

Types of Expungements Available in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania offers several options for expungement of your criminal record depending upon your individual circumstances, how your case was resolved, and whether you were an adult or a juvenile at the time of your conviction.

  • Single Summary Expungement — With this type of expungement, a single offense can be wiped from your record as long as five years have passed since you were convicted. Only minor offenses known as summary offenses qualify for this type of expungement. Single offenses commonly expunged include convictions such as disorderly conduct or underage drinking.
  • Juvenile Record Expungement — People who committed offenses as juveniles can have misdemeanor or felony convictions removed from their record after they turn 18 or when five years have passed since the conviction with no further criminal offenses committed.
  • Underage Drinking — If you were convicted of underage drinking and now are 21 or older, you may be able to have the underage drinking conviction expunged from your record.
  • ARD Expungement — ARD stands for Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition. Sometimes when you’re charged with a crime, you can be put into the ARD program and allowed to serve probation in lieu of a conviction. DUI charges sometimes are referred to this program. Because there is no actual conviction when you get this type of disposition, you may be able to get the charge wiped from your record once you’ve finished probation. However, 18 Pa. Cons. Stat. § 9122 excludes some offenses from qualifying for expungement. Those include rape, statutory sexual assault, involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, indecent assault, aggravated indecent assault, prostitution, and charges related to obscene sexual materials and performances.
  • Section 17 Disposition — Section 17 is another type of alternative program that allows you to serve probation in lieu of a conviction. Similar to ARD, you may be able to get the charge wiped from your record once you’ve completed the requirements of your probation.
  • Charges Withdrawn, Dismissed, or Acquitted — When you are charged with a crime, but the prosecutor chooses to withdraw the charge, a judge dismissed the charge, or you are found not guilty of the charge, you can ask to have the charge removed from your record.
  • Defendant Over Age 70 — If you’re 70 or older and haven’t been arrested or prosecuted for a crime within the last 10 years, you may be able to have your record expunged.
  • Defendant Is Deceased — The record of someone who passed away three or more years ago may be able to be expunged.

How Do I Get a Criminal Charge Expunged?

The first step in getting an expungement is to file a petition in the court where you were charged or convicted and pay the appropriate filing fee. For example, if you had a first-offense DUI charge in Pittsburgh and served probation through the ARD program, you would need to file a petition in the Criminal Division, Department of Court Records in the Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas.

You’ll need some information before you can file your petition:

  • Date of your arrest
  • Your charges
  • The law enforcement agency responsible for your arrest
  • Records of any court-ordered programs you completed, including proof of completion

If a lawyer represented you, your Pittsburgh defense lawyer should be able to provide this information or know where to find it at the court. Your lawyer also can help you with the expungement forms. Because Pennsylvania offers different types of expungement, you need to make sure you use the right form and have everything you’ll need to support your petition. To ensure your best chance at success, it’s a good idea to consult with a criminal defense attorney who has experience getting charges expunged in the court where your petition will be filed. The success of your expungement petition may come down to small details or nuances of the law. A good Pittsburgh defense lawyer should know how expungements usually are handled in the court where your expungement is being considered, and how to make the best case for getting your record cleared.

Expungement Forms

If your arrest or conviction happened in Pittsburgh, you’ll most likely be petitioning for expungement in the Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas. The court has standard forms available that you can fill out and submit along with an application fee. Forms are available from the court at:

Department of Court Records, Criminal Division
Room 220
Allegheny County Courthouse
436 Grant Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15219

Allegheny County does not offer the form online and it cannot be submitted online. The form has to be obtained directly from the court and filed at the courthouse. If you don’t live in Allegheny County but your offense was submitted there, a Pittsburgh expungement lawyer can obtain and file the forms on your behalf.

A copy of your petition must be served to the district attorney in the county where you apply for the expungement. In Allegheny County, you would send it to:

Allegheny County District Attorney
Stephen A. Zappala, Jr.
Room 303
Allegheny County Courthouse
436 Grant Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15219

How to Access Your Criminal Record

Along with your petition form, you’ll have to submit your Pennsylvania criminal record or court docket if your case went to court. You can obtain your criminal record from the Pennsylvania State Police Central Repository for a $20 fee. You can download the SP4-170 form (“Individual Access and Review Request Form”) online at the state police website, and send the request and fee by mail to:

Pennsylvania State Police Central Repository – 164
1800 Elmerton Avenue
Harrisburg, PA 17110-9758

If you have questions about getting your criminal record from the Pennsylvania State Police, the Pennsylvania Access to Criminal History (PATCH) helpline is 1-888-QUERY-PA (888-783-7972).

To get your court docket, you can look up your case online through the Unified Judicial System of Pennsylvania website, or you can go to the Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas at:

Department of Court Records, Criminal Division
Room 220
Allegheny County Courthouse
436 Grant Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15219

Again, if you have an attorney handling your expungement, your Pittsburgh criminal attorney can help you get the necessary records to attach to your expungement request.

Help is Here – Call Our Pittsburgh Expungement Attorneys Today

Once your petition is filed, your request should be set for a hearing to determine whether your case is appropriate for expungement. If the expungement is granted, the court sends an order to the Pennsylvania State Police Central Repository for Criminal History Information saying that your record is to be expunged. The state repository then notifies other criminal justice agencies about the expungement, at which time records of your expunged charge should be eliminated from any paper or electronic files.

If you’d like to talk to an expungement lawyer after you’ve had a chance to look at some of this information, we offer free consultations. Contact us today at (412) 281-2146 to make an appointment and find out how Worgul, Sarna & Ness, Criminal Defense Attorneys, LLC can help you clear your record.

What Our Clients Have to Say

“Attorney Sarna was extremely professional and helpful. Timely and appropriate assistance by both Samir and Sarah. Our legal needs were met in full. I highly recommend Worgul, Sarna & Ness Law Firm should you need legal assistance. Our sincere thanks again for your assistance. With gratitude, Jacqueline”
Rating: 5/5
Jacqueline Collavo
February 3, 2019
Read more reviews on Google!