A criminal record can follow you around for the rest of your life, which could make finding jobs, obtaining housing, and advancing your career much more difficult. If you have a Pennsylvania criminal conviction, you may be able to expunge or obtain limited access to, or seal, all records related to that conviction in certain circumstances. A Montgomery County expungement lawyer may be able to evaluate your situation and determine whether expungement or sealing your records is a possibility for you.
The purpose of expungement and limited access laws is to give individuals who have stayed out of trouble a second chance at a clean criminal record. This is particularly helpful, for instance, if you were convicted of a crime when you were underage or in your young adulthood, and many years have passed since that time in your life. By consulting a tenacious criminal defense attorney, you may be able to work toward expunging or sealing your criminal records.
Both expungements and limited access orders are court orders with respect to the disposition of criminal records. These orders limit the release of criminal records to criminal justice agencies only. A Montgomery County expungement attorney may be able to assist individuals with the filing of an expungement or limited access petition.
Even if individuals receive an expungement or limited access order for criminal records, however, there are still situations in which these records may affect individuals. If an individual is convicted for another crime in the future, the prosecutor could use evidence of the expunged criminal records against them. An expungement also cannot restore rights to possess a firearm or force a professional licensing agency to find persons eligible for licensing.
Under 18 Pa. Con. Stat. § 9122.1, individuals who have been convicted of second or third-degree misdemeanors that do not involve violence may be eligible to seek an order limiting access to their criminal records, so long as they have had no other criminal convictions over the past ten years. Eligible convictions include those that carry a sentence ranging between one and five years in prison. The only misdemeanor records ineligible for expungement are those that involve firearms, weapons, sexual acts, cruelty to animals, and intimidation of or retaliation against witnesses.
There are waiting periods to seek this type of expungement. If the individuals were over the age of 25 and convicted of a second-degree misdemeanor, the waiting period is ten years, but for a third-degree misdemeanor conviction, it is only seven years. Additionally, individuals must satisfy their financial obligations related to the offense prior to receiving an expungement. For more information about the time frame an individual must wait in order to be eligible for expungement, speak to a knowledgeable attorney in Montgomery County.
Expungements under Pennsylvania law fall into two separate, very narrow categories. Even if individuals otherwise qualify for expungement, the statute prohibits expungements of criminal records of some crimes.
Under 18 Pa. Con. Stat. § 9122, individuals in certain situations may be able to expunge their criminal convictions if they meet all necessary criteria. These situations include individuals who are:
In some situations, a court is required to grant expungement petitions by individuals. These situations include those in which:
An expungement lawyer in Montgomery County could help determine whether a conviction could be expunged. This assessment may impact whether individuals choose to seek expungement of their criminal records.
There are many criteria that you must satisfy in order to be eligible for sealing or expungement of your records. A Montgomery County expungement lawyer may be able to assess your situation and help you decide whether you are eligible to file either of these types of petitions.
There also are various filing requirements that you must meet to have criminal records sealed or expunged. Legal counsel may be able to guide you throughout the stages of this process and see your case to completion.