The Pennsylvania Expungement Lawyers at the Zeiger Firm deliver excellent results our expungement clients. Our attorneys help clients clear their records across Pennsylvania from our Philadelphia office.
Otherwise productive law-abiding citizens can have lapses in judgment and end up as the subject of a criminal prosecution. Many arrests do not result in a conviction. However, the record of the arrest still exists. The record may include a police report, police photos, fingerprints and a publicly available court docket. These documents are all retrievable which can have a significant impact on your life.
Fortunately, for many people with an arrest record, expungement is an option. Expungement is the process by which documents and records about an arrest and any subsequent court proceedings are destroyed by an Order of the court.
An expungement is available if you were NOT CONVICTED, which includes: withdrawn, discharge lack of evidence, discharge lack of prosecution, nolle pros, section 17, section 18, ARD (Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition), not guilty, 586 disposition, and other types of diversion. If you pled guilty, were found guilty and placed on probation or sentenced to jail time you are not eligible for an expungement.
Beginning in October 2016, a new type of expungement is available for people convicted of Misdemeanors of the second or third degree (M2 or M3), who have been arrest free for ten or more years. There are many exceptions to the rules, and the new expungement will seal the record, not destroy it. Nonetheless, the new Pennsylvania Expungement law is a major step forward.
Expunging a criminal record can benefit an individual in a number of ways, including the following:
- Employment – Most employers conduct a comprehensive background check before hiring. Human Resources may see the arrest and may not hire you. The hiring person may not understand you are innocent until proven guilty. Also, if there is a choice between you and another person, but that person has never been arrested, the record of your arrest may tip the scales against you.
- Renting or Buying a home – Landlords conduct background checks on their prospective renters which includes a criminal records check. Banks check arrest records before issuing a mortgage.
- Membership in Professional Organizations – Professional organizations may be hesitant to offer membership to people with a publicly accessible criminal arrest record.
- Coaching Children – Little league coaches go through background checks before they are allowed to work with children in many communities. Even though you were never convicted of crime, the people running the league and other parents may see the record of your arrest.
- Gun License – Gun laws allow for discretion when granting a concealed carry permit. The mere trace of an arrest record could cause your gun license to be denied.
- Security Clearance – many good jobs in plumbing, electric, HVAC, and masonry, take place inside of government installations as a subcontractor, where security clearance is needed to enter and work on the building.
If you are considering attempting to have your criminal record expunged, talk to an experienced attorney at the Zeiger Firm. The procedures for obtaining an expungement can be complicated. To schedule a free consultation with a lawyer, call The Zeiger Firm today at (215) 546-0340.