The Hardship of a Criminal Conviction

Criminal convictions are hard. Surprisingly, the punishment is often not the hardest part of a criminal conviction. The defendant may be able to pay the fine quickly or readily do any jail time. Yet, a conviction ordinarily remains on the defendant’s permanent record even after completing the sentence. And unfortunately, a criminal record can weigh down a person’s job prospects, career, reputation, and future like a stone.

Expungement to the Rescue

America, though, is a place for fresh starts. For many individuals who have suffered a criminal conviction, that fresh start means a chance to expunge, or wipe clean, one’s criminal record. A clean record can mean a new job, new career, restored reputation, and other hard-won breakthroughs.

Statutory Expungement

Pennsylvania’s main expungement opportunity is under 18 Pa.C.S. §9122. It permits the expungement of arrest and conviction records under several different circumstances. Those circumstances can include when the defendant:

  • suffered conviction of a summary offense and has been free of arrest or prosecution for five years following the conviction;
  • suffered conviction for underage drinking, has turned age 21, and has satisfied all terms of a sentence;
  • suffered no conviction but petitions for expungement of arrest records; and
  • has reached age 70 without arrest or prosecution for ten years following final release from confinement or supervision.

Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (ARD)

Pennsylvania’s Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (ARD) program, authorized under 234 Pa. Code § 320, also offers expungement after the defendant has completed the program. ARD is a form of diversion program, generally available only for first-time offenders. ARD permits expungement after the defendant completes community service, counseling, treatment, safe driving classes, or other requirements appropriate to the charged crime.

Juvenile Expungement

Pennsylvania also permits a person with a juvenile record to expunge that record under 18 Pa.C.S. §9123. Expungement of juvenile records has a strong public policy behind it. Youthful indiscretions should not hold one back for a lifetime. But once again, the statute is long and highly technical.

Retain Skilled Representation for Expungement

Expungement statutes, rules, and practices governing expungement are confusing and complex. Some expungements are also discretionary, up to the subjective judgment of the assigned judge. Don’t try it alone. Experienced Philadelphia attorney John D’Intino is ready to help you determine your eligibility for expungement and help you get a truly fresh start. Don’t delay. Request a free consultation now. Call 267-491-9111.