What is an Expungement?
Under very specific and limited circumstances, Pennsylvania law allows individuals to remove certain arrests or convictions from their criminal record through a process called expungement. Upon completion of the expungement process, those arrests or convictions would no longer be accessible to the general public.
Under 18 Pa.C.S.A § 9122, an individual’s record may be expunged if any of the following are met:
- Summary Offenses – A person who has been convicted of a summary offense (a low-level offense that carries a potential punishment of a fine and/or up to 90 days in jail) and he/she has not been arrested or prosecuted for any other crime for at least five (5) years since that conviction.
- Cases Resolved through an Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (ARD) Program – A person who has successfully completed the ARD Program may request that court to expunge those charges from his/her record with the exception of sexual offenses outlined under 18 Pa. C.S.A § 9122 (b.1).
- Adult Arrest Record – If a person were arrested, but does not have a disposition recorded for the case within 18 months and does not have criminal proceedings pending, he/she may petition the court for expungement of those arrests. Additionally, if a case is dismissed, withdrawn or nolle prossed, he/she may petition the court to have the record expunged.
- Underage Purchase, Consumption, Possession or Transportation of Alcohol – If a person was at least 18 years old but under 21 when he/she was convicted of underage drinking and has successfully completed all terms of their sentence and is now 21 years old, he/she may petition the court for expungement.
- Probation without Verdict – A person who obtains a probation without verdict relating to certain charges and has successfully completed all terms of their sentence, may petition the court for expungement.
- If a Person is 70 Years Old or Older – If a person is at least 70 years old and has not been arrested or prosecuted in ten (10) years following his/her release from incarceration or supervision, he/she may petition the court for expungement.
How do you file for an Expungement of charges filed against you as an adult (not juvenile offenses)?
If you would like to petition the court for expungement of your record, please follow the instructions provided by the Luzerne County Clerk of Courts Office.
How do you Expunge a Juvenile Record?
Under 18 Pa. C.S.A § 9123, a juvenile’s record may be expunged if any of the following are met:
- Dismissed Cases – A juvenile whose case has been dismissed by the court, withdrawn by the Commonwealth, or disapproved for Prosecution by the Commonwealth may file at any point to have their record expunged.
- Diversion Program – A juvenile whose case was handled through a warned counsel, informal adjustment, or a consent decree may file for expungement six (6) months after their case has been successfully closed by probation provided they have no currently pending cases.
- Underage Purchase, Consumption, Possession or Transportation of Alcohol –A juvenile who has successfully completed all terms of their sentence and is now 18 years old, may petition to have their record expunged provided they have no new charges or convictions and six (6) months have elapsed since all penalties have been satisfied, including any license suspensions.
- Summary Offenses – A juvenile who has been convicted of a summary offense, is now 18 or older, and has not been arrested or prosecuted for any other crime for at least six (6) months after satisfying all the penalties imposed may petition for expungement.
- Adjudicated Delinquent – A juvenile who has been adjudicated delinquent of a misdemeanor or felony may petition for expungement provided their case has been successfully closed by the Courts, and they have satisfied all penalties including paying all fees, costs, or restitution, and have not been arrested or prosecuted for any other crime for at least five (5) years.
- Commonwealth Discretion – The District Attorney’s Office may consent to expungements not otherwise eligible after giving consideration to the type of offense, the individual’s age, history of employment, criminal activity and substance abuse issues, adverse consequences that the individual may suffer if the records are not expunged; and whether retention of the record is required for purposes of protection of the public safety.
- Ineligible Offenses – Certain juvenile adjudications are ineligible for expungement. Those offenses include any offenses under 3121 (relating to rape), 3123 (relating to involuntary deviate sexual intercourse), or 3125 (relating to aggravated indecent assault).
To expunge a record of juvenile offenses, please seek an attorney or contact the Public Defender’s Office.