Expungement Law Expanded In Pennsylvania

By Brian Patrick Bronson, Esq.

A new provision in Pennsylvania law alters the criteria for expungement of criminal records for summary offenses. Expungement is the process that removes past criminal offenses from your record.

Prior to the passage of this law, an expungement could only be granted under specific circumstances. Expungements were limited to juvenile court convictions and to adult criminal charges that were dismissed by a judge or withdrawn by the Commonwealth.

Now, the law permits people convicted of a summary offense to apply for expungement five years after conviction as long as they were not arrested or prosecuted within that time. Examples of summary offenses are underage drinking, disorderly conduct, harassment, and retail theft. However, the law will no longer allow relief for people that committed certain crimes against victims under the age of 18. Even if a matter is expunged for public purposes, law enforcement agencies retain access to this information.

The new law does not change the fact that convictions for more serious offenses known as misdemeanors and felonies are still not expungable in Pennsylvania. The only available option to expunge these records would be a gubernatorial pardon, which is time consuming and difficult to obtain.

To explore whether you may qualify under this new provision, contact Brian at 724-552-2755 for an appointment.