Can a Felony Be Expunged?
December 19, 2023
The prospect of expunging a felony involves a legal process that attempts to erase or seal a criminal conviction. When successful, the individual can move on with their life without the stigma of their past. Dealing with felonies is not always a straightforward process, however. Yet, with the proper legal support, expungement is possible in accordance with the state’s specific laws.
Are All Felonies Eligible for Expungement?
Not all felonies can be expunged in Pennsylvania. If your felony is not eligible for expungement, your lawyer may have the option of filing for a pardon. Issued by the court, pardons are symbols of forgiveness that are not directly related to the person’s innocence.
What Is Pennsylvania’s Expungement Process?
You must first file a formal petition to have a criminal record expunged in Pennsylvania. This is done with the court in the county where the charges were filed. The applicable petition category is chosen and is then written to request that the records be removed or deleted. After that, a hearing may be scheduled to decide if the expungement is appropriate. The prosecution will learn of the petition and may oppose it or withdraw the case.
The original charges may not be automatically removed from your record, however. Unless an order is signed to grant expungement, evidence of the arrest and charges may remain and still be accessible to potential employers, the military, and the public.
Pennsylvania Expungement Petitions
Here are a few examples of the available petitions:
- Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (ARD) expungement: This program allows you to go through probation without conviction. Once the program is completed, the criminal history of the crime is erased.
- Juvenile record expungement: This gets filed to remove juvenile misdemeanors and court prosecutions once a junior offender turns 18 or after five years. The District Attorney must consent, and there cannot be any intervening criminal conduct.
- Summary expungement: Commonly used for disorderly conduct, harassment, and retail theft, this petition can expunge a single summary offense after five years.
A West Chester Criminal Defense Lawyer at the Law Offices of Heather J. Mattes Can Help You With Expungement
Expungement is not a simple process. A skilled West Chester criminal defense lawyer at the Law Offices of Heather J. Mattes can help. To schedule a free consultation, complete our online form or call 610-431-7900. Located in West Chester, Pennsylvania, we serve clients in Chester County, Bucks County, Delaware County, Lehigh County, Montgomery County, and Philadelphia County.