Can I expunge a felony charge that I got when I was 18 years old under PA criminal procedure

Asked over 5 years ago - Harrisburg, PA

Im almost 27 and still on probation. I don't do drugs and I have had a steady work history for years. When I was 18 I got in trouble with a few friends because we spray painted a public pool. I had no money for a lawyer and so I went and received a felony charge for vandalism and went to jail. A year or so later after I had gotten out I had to move to a different apartment and I neglected to let them know. I turned myself in and went to jail. Ever since then Ive been making payments on my fine which was insanely high (totalled over 25 grande plus probation fees for both of us) still because both me and the other boy needed to pay on the fine and he doesn't and if he doesn't pay his part then I remain on probation so essentially I feel like the payments will never stop. I want to go back to school so I can get a better job but what's the point with a felony? Is there any way I can possibly get this expunged off of my record or at least lessoned??? I have no other criminal offenses on my record and ever since moving while on probation and not letting them know, I have been faithful with po visits. What should I do?

Attorney answers (7)

  1. Susan J. Sacchetta

    Contributor Level 8

    Answered . If you were convicted of a crime it cannot be expunged. You can only expunge records where you were not actually convicted. For example, if you had applied for and been placed on ARD, a program that allows you to not admit to guilt but places you on probation and gives you certain conditions to satisfy, then after you satisfied those conditions you could have the record of your arrest and charges expunged. An actual conviction cannot be expunged.

  2. Carl A Munson JR

    Contributor Level 14

    Answered . In Washington, your goal would be to get your conviction "vacated". That means after meeting certain criteria, you would make a motion to the court to allow you to withdraw your plea and then the court would dismiss it. After that is accomplished, it is legally as if it had never happened and you can answer "no" to the question "have you been convicted" on applications.

    Up here in WA, you have to wait a certain amount of time depending on the class of felony. Unfortunately, in your situation, the clock would not start until you have completed all the obligations of the sentence, including paying restitution.

    Also, here in WA, the court can follow you for 10 years to collect on the restitution and before the expiration of the 10 years, the State could ask the court to extend the jurisdiction over your case another 10 years for the payment of restitution.

    You should talk to a lawyer in your area about these issues as the law may, and probably is, different in your state.

  3. Patricia Elizabeth Fox

    Contributor Level 10

    Answered . In California, we typically file a Motion to Modify/Terminate Probation, Reduce a Felony to a Misdemeanor and To Withdraw the Guilty/No Contest Plea and to Dismiss the Charge. But, all fees and fines must be paid in full.
    Contact a lawyer in PA to see if there is a similar procedure.
    Good Luck.

  4. Daniel Spivey Adkins

    Contributor Level 6

    Answered . Contact a lawyer in your jurisdiction as soon as possible. You can STILL challenge some elements of your probation, including asking the court to terminate it early. Once the probation is terminated, you can ask for an expungement, but the prosecution will likely oppose your request quite thoroughly. You will therefore need an aggressive advocate in court with you. Good luck.

  5. Teresa Elizabeth Williams

    Contributor Level 6

    Answered . In Florida there is a statute that allows you to seal a criminal case if you received a "withold of adjudication." In Florida it is rare that you would get a jail sentence and have also received a with hold. Online there are numerous attorneys who handle these types of motions who can tell you if you will qualify. The process takes several months and most likely cannot be initiated while you are still on probation. Seek the advise of an attorney to file a motion for early termination.

    Please note that I do not practice in your state, and have limited knowledge of the facts of your case. Please see an attorney licensed in Pennsylvania prior to taking action on this matter.

  6. Timothy M. Williams

    Contributor Level 6

    Answered . In Michigan you may expunge not more than one crminal conviction if at least five years has past since the conviction. As a practical matter, Judges in Michgan typically do not grant the request unless the term of probation and the conditions of probation have been met. Even PA law is like Michigan in regard to the 5 year rule, since you have not paid the restitution off, the judge may not grant the request. YOu could explain to the judge that you have been making payments and need to go back to school and need the conviction expunged. But it would be difficult to monitor you for the payment is the conviction is expunged, since how can you be on porbation if your conviction is expunged. This is my best quess based on Mihcigan Law. you should consult a PA attorney to see what the law is your state is.

  7. Cedric D King Sr.

    Contributor Level 8

    Answered . In most jurisdiction you can get an exppungement if you have one and only one conviction...You can have multiple counts on one criminal offense, but to have more than one conviction, most states will not expunge...You could, however, pettition the governer to grant a pardon. Be advised, because you have a state pardon, you are still prohibited by the federal goverment from purchasing or posessing a firearm under weapons disabilty statute. You must have a federal pardon to have that disability removed. Consult an attorney in PA. to get more specific facts with respect to your issue. Good luck.

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