The prison system is not only meant for punishment. It is also meant to rehabilitate criminals to deter future crime. This does not always happen, however. For some people, however, they want to leave their past behind. Unfortunately, they cannot get a job or find suitable housing thanks to their criminal record. Philadelphia recently prohibited the use of the felony “check box” on employment applications. Still, there are ways a potential employer can find out.
The best way to leave your past behind is to seek an expungement. At some point, you may need to appear before a judge to argue your case for expungement. We at Freundlich & Littman, LLC can help you fight for your expungement.
When Can I Seek An Expungement In Pennsylvania?
Pennsylvania law only allows an expungement in certain circumstances:
“Criminal history record information may be expunged when:
An individual who is the subject of the information reaches 70 years of age and has been free of arrest or prosecution for ten years following final release from confinement or supervision.
An individual who is the subject of the information has been dead for three years.
An individual who is the subject of the information petitions the court for the expungement of a summary offense and has been free of arrest or prosecution for five years following the conviction for that offense.
Expungement under this paragraph shall only be permitted for a conviction of a summary offense.”
Most people want to expunge their juvenile records. People make mistakes when they are younger. Mistakes they do not want to pay for as an adult. To qualify for a juvenile expungement:
A complaint is filed which is not substantiated or the petition which is filed as a result of a complaint is dismissed by the court;
a written allegation is filed which was not approved for prosecution;
six months have elapsed since the individual successfully completed an informal adjustment and no proceeding seeking adjudication or conviction is pending;
six months have elapsed since the final discharge of the person from supervision under a consent decree or diversion program…and no proceeding seeking adjudication or conviction is pending;
five years have elapsed since the final discharge of the person from commitment, placement, probation or any other disposition and referral and since such final discharge, the person has not been convicted of a felony, misdemeanor or adjudicated delinquent and no proceeding is pending seeking such conviction or adjudication.”
The law seals a juvenile’s records once they turn 18. Still, there are ways to uncover crimes of youth. The best way to erase a juvenile criminal record is to seek an expungement. Whether the applicant petitions for a juvenile or an adult expungement, the process to clear their record is the same.
The Expungement Process
First, the individual must apply for the expungement in the county where the offense or arrest occurred. If you are seeking expungement of multiple charges or arrest, you must file a separate petition for each county and each offense. Filing with the court comes with fees. Before filing with the court, verify the charge with a clerk of court. Depending on the county, the charge varies. Upon filing, the clerk will ask for the fee amount in full.
After filing the fee, one of two things can happen. The court processes the expungement or the Prosecutor’s office contests the petition. A contested expungement goes to a judge. You will need to state the legal reason for the expungement. You must also prove why you legally deserve an expungement of your records.
After both parties plead their case, the judge decides. The judge will balance the right of the petitioner to legally expunge their criminal history against any claims the state has in keeping the record intact. The prosecutor has the burden to prove why the state’s interests trump the petitioner’s interest.
A judge considers many things while deciding an expungement petition. The more you can prove that the record causes you harm, the better your chances. Keep and preserve any lost jobs, denied apartments, or any other cognizable evidence of harm.
Need An Expungement Attorney?
Expungements can be scary. Your future is riding on the expungement petition. Do not take the chance of losing. We at Freundlich & Littman, LLC are expungement lawyers locate in Philadelphia. We are here to help you leave your past behind.
Contact us today for a free consultation and case evaluation.
Contact Us Today!
Freundlich & Littman, LLC. | 1425 Walnut St Suite 200,
Philadelphia, PA 19102 | Phone: (215) 545-8500
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