SUMMARY EXPUNGEMENT – this petition erases a summary conviction from someone’s record.
House Bill 1543 creates the right to expunge a single summary offense when five years have elapsed since the date of conviction – when there is no criminal prosecutions for the following five years. The most issued summary citations that affect young people are retail theft, harassment, disorderly conduct and public drunkenness – these would all be eligible for expungement after five years.
JUVENILE RECORD EXPUNGEMENT – this petition is filed to remove juvenile court prosecutions for misdemeanors or felonies after the offender turns 18 (with the consent of the District Attorney), or after five years, with no intervening criminal conduct.
ARD EXPUNGEMENT – some crimes, like Driving Under the Influence (1st offense) are put into a program called ARD. ARD allows someone to do probation without conviction. Since there is not a conviction, after successful completion of the program, the criminal history showing that the crime was charged can be erased.
SECTION 17 EXPUNGEMENT – Section 17 is a special diversionary program, much like ARD. It allows one to complete probation without a conviction. It is typically presented for possession
of marijuana or paraphernalia. If you received a Section 17 disposition, your record can be cleared.
CHARGES THAT WERE WITHDRAWN, DISMISSED OR NOL-PROSSED – Charges that were brought that did not result in a conviction may still be on your criminal history. These may be eligible for expungement.
CHARGES THAT HAVE BEEN PARDONED – if you have received a Pardon from the Governor of Pennsylvania the charges become expungeable.
CONVICTIONS IF YOU ARE OVER 70 YEARS OF AGE – Seniors do NOT have to go through the Pardon process.
The difficulty with these procedures is the time frame. If a freshman in college gets a summary conviction in their first year at school, there is no way to get the record ‘expunged’ before they graduate. In this case, a pardon might help.