Having an arrest record, even if your charges were dismissed or withdrawn, can negatively affect many aspects. If you’ve never been convicted, your housing options, job opportunities, and educational opportunities can still be burdened. If you have ever been arrested or convicted of a crime, criminal record expungement can change your life.
Below, you’ll gain a better understanding of the importance of criminal record expungement, the benefits it can have on your life, and what crimes, factors, and records are eligible for expungement.
What is Criminal Record Expungement?
The state of Pennsylvania recognizes that a first offense may not always be an accurate representation of a person’s character. Even if you were never convicted, an arrest or accusations of certain offenses might still be on your record. The process of expungement can clear specific criminal and arrest records, preventing potential employers, landlords, and banks from ever getting knowledge of these undesirable records.
Benefits of a Record Expungement
Criminal record expungement gives you a fresh start, as it takes away the ability for anyone to search your arrest record publicly. Once a file has been expunged, the law allows you to say it never happened legally. This affects your prospects in a multitude of areas including:
- Firearm rights
- Federal assistance
Crimes Eligible for Expungement
Many people face hardships from one mistake in their past, even after years of keeping a clean record. If you live in Bucks County, Montgomery County, Lehigh County, Philadelphia or the surrounding areas, you may qualify for expungement for the following crimes:
- Disorderly conduct
- Public drunkenness
- Retail theft (shoplifting)
- Underage drinking
- Driving without a license
- And other non-traffic summary offenses
In Pennsylvania, you may qualify to expunge records of arrests and non-convictions if:
- You were not found guilty
- Your charges were dismissed
- Your charges were withdrawn
- You were accepted into and completed the ARD Program
- You were a first-time DUI offender and completed ARD
- You were charged as a juvenile
- You received Probation Without Verdict under the Controlled Substances Act
- You had an underage drinking conviction and have since turned 21
- You are 70 years or older and have not been arrested in 10 years
- You pled guilty to a summary offense and have been clean for at least five years
- You were charged with an alcohol-related offense and have met the terms of the sentence
Records That Can Be Expunged:
Records eligible for expungement can include all identifiable descriptions, dates and notations of arrest, indictments, information and other formal charges or dispositions including:
- Processing Records
- Index Cards
- “Rap Sheets”
- Judicial Docket
Having a criminal record will follow you throughout your life. It can damage your reputation, affect your livelihood and earnings, and disqualify you from employment, educational, and housing opportunities. Expungement can be a complicated process, and it is critical to have an experienced attorney working to get your record clean again.
If you’re in need of DUI attorney in Bucks County or need a drunk driving lawyer in Doylestown, PA, or the surrounding areas, turn to Keith J. Williams Law. In fact, don’t hesitate to contact Keith J. Williams today at 855-703-1134 to learn more about criminal record expungement, or to schedule your free and confidential consultation.