A criminal conviction that shows up on background checks by prospective employers and landlords can have adverse effects on your ability to find a better job and housing, among other things. Expungement may be one means of truly leaving your past behind. You may want to talk with a Bucks County expungement lawyer to see if expungement is an available remedy in your case.
Whether your criminal records qualify for expungements or limited access orders, you may benefit from removing your records from public view. These procedures may enable you to get a second chance following a lapse in judgment or a youthful indiscretion and move forward with your life in a more positive manner. An experienced criminal defense lawyer may be able to help you with these goals.
According to 18 Pa. Con. Stat. § 9122.1, individuals with some criminal misdemeanor convictions may be able to obtain an order limiting access to the records related to their convictions. Eligible records include those stemming from second or third-degree criminal misdemeanor convictions that have a potential jail sentence of one to five years. However, records of the following types of convictions are ineligible for relief, among others:
There are statutory waiting periods to expunge or limit access to both second and third-degree misdemeanors. Persons convicted of a second-degree misdemeanor at age 25 or older must complete a ten-year waiting period with no other criminal convictions during that timeframe to seek an expunction. For third-degree misdemeanor convictions, the waiting period decreases to seven years.
Also, individuals must pay all outstanding financial obligations related to the offense before they become eligible to expunge their criminal records. As the eligibility for expungements is limited, an expungement lawyer in Bucks County may be able to help determine whether certain records qualify for relief.
Expungements are available only under very limited circumstances. According to 18 Pa. Con. Stat. § 9122, only the following individuals meet the criteria for expungement:
Since these categories of eligible individuals are relatively narrow, it may be essential to check with a knowledgeable attorney in Bucks County before seeking expungement or limited access.
Limited access and expungement orders limit the release of eligible criminal records to only law enforcement and criminal justice agencies. This means that these records should not appear on background checks performed by employers and landlords, which could be very beneficial.
Since criminal justice agencies retain access to these records, however, they still may affect individuals in certain situations. For example, if individuals face new criminal charges, the prosecutor could use previously expunged convictions to enhance the pending charges.
Furthermore, even if individuals are successful in getting convictions expunged, they may not be able to escape the collateral consequences of their convictions. Therefore, if persons expunged a conviction that made them ineligible to possess firearms, they still would be subject to the same firearms ineligibility.
An expungement or limited access order may be a positive way to move on from prior mistakes and build a better life for you and your family. Although relief is limited, there some records that you may be able to shield from public view. A Bucks County expungement lawyer may be able to analyze your records and determine the availability of relief in your situation.
Taking steps to limit access to old criminal records may give you the advantage that you need when seeking new employment or career paths. This process may allow you to overcome your past and move on to an improved life. Call today for a consultation.