Pennsylvania Expungement Law


Expungement of Criminal Records – General – Pennsylvania

1.  What is an expungement?

(1) To remove information so that there is no trace or indication that such information existed;
(2) to eliminate all identifiers which may be used to trace the identity of an individual, allowing remaining data to be used for statistical purposes; or
(3) maintenance of certain information required or authorized under the provisions of section 9122(c) (relating to expungement), when an individual has successfully completed the conditions of any pretrial or post trial diversion or probation program. 18 Pa.C.S.A. § 9102.

2.  Do the records just disappear?

No. Certain records may be retained to determine future eligibility for diversion or probation programs or to identify a person in a criminal investigation.

3. What records may be expunged?

Criminal history record information related to the expunged offense may be expunged. Such records consist of identifiable descriptions, dates and notations of arrests, indictments, informations or other formal criminal charges and any dispositions arising therefrom.

Criminal history record information does not include intelligence information, investigative information or treatment information, including medical and psychological information. Records also not subject to expungement orders include:

(1) original records of entry compiled chronologically including, but not limited to, police blotters and press releases that contain criminal history record information and are disseminated contemporaneous with the incident.
(2) any documents, records or indices prepared or maintained by or filed in any court of this Commonwealth, including but not limited to the minor judiciary.
(3) posters, announcements, or lists for identifying or apprehending fugitives or wanted persons.
(4) announcements of executive clemency. 18 Pa.C.S.A. § 9102.

Records of arrest are also eligible to be expunged for persons dismissed under Rule 320.

4.  Who is eligible for an expungement?

Persons convicted of a crime may have records expunged in the following cases:

(1) An individual who is the subject of the information reaches 70 years of age and has been free of arrest or prosecution for ten years following final release from confinement or supervision; or

(2) An individual who is the subject of the information has been dead for three years.

(3) A person the subject of an information for a summary offense has been free of arrest or conviction for five years following conviction for that offense.

(4) no disposition has been received or, upon request for criminal history record information, no disposition has been recorded in the repository within 18 months after the date of arrest and the court of
proper jurisdiction certifies to the director of the repository that no disposition is available and no action is pending. Expungement shall not occur until the certification from the court is received and the director of the repository authorizes such expungement;

  (5) a court order requires that such nonconviction data be expunged; or

  (6) a person 21 years of age or older who has been convicted of a violation of section 6308 (relating to purchase, consumption, possession or transportation of liquor or malt or brewed beverages) petitions the court of common pleas in the county where the conviction occurred seeking expungement and the person has satisfied all terms and conditions of the sentence imposed for the violation, including any suspension of operating privileges imposed pursuant to section 6310.4 (relating to restriction of
operating privileges). Upon review of the petition, the court shall order the expungement of all criminal history record information and all administrative records of the Department of Transportation relating to said conviction.

A person is not eligible for expungement if placed in an ARD program and victim was under the age of 18 for any of the following offenses:
Section 3121 (relating to rape).
Section 3122.1 (relating to statutory sexual assault).
Section 3123 (relating to involuntary deviate sexual intercourse).
Section 3124.1 (relating to sexual assault).
Section 3125 (relating to aggravated indecent assault).
Section 3126 (relating to indecent assault).
Section 3127 (relating to indecent exposure).
Section 5902(b) (relating to prostitution and related offenses).
Section 5903 (relating to obscene and other sexual materials and performances).
18 Pa.C.S.A. § 9122.

5.  How do I get records expunged?

Under 18 Pa.C.S.A. § 9122, the person must petition the court with jurisdiction over such records and the court must send a certified order to the agency having control over the records.

Expungements of records of arrest under Rule 320 are automatic as a matter of law after successful completion of ADR requirements. When the judge orders the dismissal of the charges against the defendant, the judge shall also order the expungement of the defendant’s arrest record.

If the attorney for the Commonwealth objects to the automatic expungement, the objections shall be filed with the judge, together with the objections to dismissal, if any, within 30 days after service of a motion for dismissal under Rule 319, and copies of the objections shall be served on the defendant or the defendant’s attorney.

If the objections are filed, the judge shall hold a hearing on the objections, affording all parties an opportunity to be heard.