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Why is it so hard to get a criminal record expunged in PA?

York, PA |

I was charged with theft and receiving stolen property in 2006 and I'm trying desperately to get these charges expunged as I have been denied numerous jobs and even denied acceptance to college. I just found out I need a Governors Pardon which takes a minimum of 3 years!!! Is there ANYTHING I can do to get this done quicker? Why is it so hard and so long to get it expunged? There is no statute of limitations on misdemeanor changes being on your record is there?

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Attorney answers 6


A Governor's pardon doesn't take three years. Good luck getting it though. Very tough. In Pa., there is no provision that allows for the expungement of a criminal conviction while you are still alive...except for a Governor's pardon. And you'll need a lawyer. Good luck!


It's the way the State's Legislature has determined it to be. Misdemeanor charges are not eligible for expungement. A Pardon is a lengthy process with no good expectation of succes absent special circumstances. Sorry but that's the way it is.


Mr. Jones has it correct. If the theft case was a first offense, I'm surprised your attorney did not pursue the ARD program which would have enabled you to have the case expunged.



Yes it was a first offense and they did offer me the ARD program, but I decided to fight it as there were no witnesses and no surveillance. Going before the judge he told me he would give me a minimum of 3 months in jail if I were found guilty, and it scared me. I was also 7 1/2 months pregnant so having a baby in jail was not something I was going to do. I took what the DA was offering and now I kick myself for it. Thanks for taking the time to respond, I appreciate it.


In Pennsylvania, criminal history record information may be expunged under limited circumstances. These circumstances are governed by statute. Generally, only summary convictions may be expunged; not misdemeanors or felonies. A Governor's Pardon is an alternative option, but, as my colleagues have pointed out, the likelihood of success is slim.


Expungements are common in Pennsylvania where the charges are withdrawn, nolle prossed, or the defendant is found not guilty. The issue is that you've been convicted. This makes the expungement process practically inapplicable to your situation.


yeah, thats all true. But, are you sure you were convicted? if so, no expungement. If you are not sure get your criminal history, or, hire an attorney to get it from the state police. if the charges were dismissed, or were bargained down to a summary, you may be eligible for an expungement.

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