This page was designed to help our clients better understand our Pennsylvania Juvenile Expungement service. You will find answers to the questions we are most frequently asked. If your question is related to eligibility requirements please take the free online eligibility test.
Your juvenile records are not automatically expunged. Therefore, the records of the arrest and court case may be visible to the public, including the exact offenses charged and the disposition of the case. By having the records expunged, the records are completely destroyed and erased from the system.
When a potential employer or other entity conducts a criminal background check, they can uncover records of prior arrests and dispositions if they have not been expunged. Expungement removes the information so that there is no trace or indication that such information existed. Therefore, it will not show on a background check.
Yes, the case can still be used in proceedings involving subsequent juvenile charges, after adjudication of delinquency and in limited civil cases. Additionally, the District Attorney and Central Repository may maintain a list of the names and criminal history of individuals who successfully completed the conditions of any pretrial or post-trial diversion or probation program. Such information shall only be used for the purpose of determining subsequent eligibility for such programs and for identification in criminal investigations.
You do not have to disclose the case. You may answer with confidence to any inquiry that you have not been convicted of a crime.
Yes, in certain case specific situations you can have your fingerprints, DNA samples, or photographs expunged as well.
You can truthfully say you were not convicted to any question for employment. Additionally, it will no longer appear on a background check. This will certainly increase your chances.
Section 19 of the FDIA (Federal Deposit Insurance Act) allows banks and other financial institutions to bar prospective and current employees who have had “Breach of Trust” or "Dishonesty" convictions from jobs that they are otherwise qualified for even if they had the conviction expunged.
"Dishonesty" means directly or indirectly to cheat or defraud; to cheat or defraud for monetary gain or its equivalent; or wrongfully to take property belonging to another in violation of any criminal statute. Dishonesty includes acts involving want of integrity, lack of probity, or a disposition to distort, cheat, or act deceitfully or fraudulently, and may include crimes which federal, state or local laws define as dishonest. "Breach of trust" means a wrongful act, use, misappropriation or omission with respect to any property or fund which has been committed to a person in a fiduciary or official capacity, or the misuse of one's official or fiduciary position to engage in a wrongful act, use, misappropriation or omission.
Whether a crime involves dishonesty or breach of trust will be determined from the statutory elements of the crime itself. All convictions for offenses concerning the illegal manufacture, sale, distribution of or trafficking in controlled substances are included. Other offenses can include but is not limited to the following: petty theft, grand theft, insufficient checks, burglary, possession of drugs for distribution or sales, embezzlement, fraud, fraud to obtain aid or benefits and money laundering.
If you believe you have a “breach of trust” or "dishonesty" conviction and were denied a position or were terminated from a financial institution because of that offense, there still is another way to obtain that job with a waiver from the FDIC. It is important to speak with an attorney about your specific circumstances to see if you would qualify for such a waiver from the FDIC.
If you want to join the US military, then it becomes a matter of federal law, not Pennsylvania state law. All branches of the military will want to know about your juvenile offenses, even if they have been expunged. There is still a risk of being discharged from the military if you don’t tell them and they later find out about it. It's always advisable to disclose that you had a conviction, but it was taken before a judge and he deemed it in the interest of justice to expunge/seal the record from public view.
Once your juvenile records have been expunged, it is treated as though it never occurred, and you can deny it on any application, including an application to become a police officer. Thus, it is highly unlikely that anyone would be able to know about it.
Your probation officer and the court are required to say that they have no record of your arrest or adjudication.
If you are over 18 years old and five years has not passed since the adjudication, then the DA must consent. However, if it has been five years since the adjudication then the judge can still grant the expungement even if the DA does not consent.
In determining whether to grant the expungement, the judge will consider the type of offense, age, history of employment, drug and alcohol problems, adverse consequences that the individual will suffer if the records are not expunged (for example: individual’s reputation, his livelihood and future earnings capacity) and the state’s interest preserving the record to protect the public.
You have an attorney to (1) make sure it is done right the first time so it does not get rejected or cost you months of delay (2) handle objections from the district attorney (3) send an attorney to court to argue the case if need be and (4) write letters to potential employers letting them know that the case has been reopened and will soon have the juvenile adjudication off of your record.
No, we go for you. If the court requests your presence and you are unable to make it then we will request for your presence to be excused.
Once you sign up we have you fill out a questionnaire on your personal online account. The questionnaire asks questions that influence the outcome of the case and allows us to argue the case before a judge. Although some of the questions may seem simple, the more information and detail that you provide in your answers the better we are able to argue the case in your favor.
Typically, the case takes about four to five months.
We base our estimates of how long a case will take on how long the average is for that service in that state. However, some cases can take less or more time depending on the facts of the case, whether the DA is agreeing or objecting, the age of the case, etc. We work on your case as fast as we can and assist the court and DA in anything they need to get your case heard.
The courts work on a first-come, first-served basis. Therefore, the sooner you sign up, the sooner it is heard and decided. If it helps, we would be glad to write your employer or potential employer a letter letting them know we have reopened the case and are in the process of having it dismissed.
We have an online tracking system that is just for your case or cases. You will have a user name and password for the account and it will have the information specific to the case. Whenever anything happens in your case we post it in your online account so that you can view the status of the case and the progress that is made. If there is no post on your online account then that means that there is no update in the case. For example, once we update your online account to reflect that we have filed the motion with the court we will update the notes when we hear a response from the court or District Attorney. Depending on the court, it can take several weeks to months to hear from the court or District Attorney whether there is an objection, hearing, or anything else. If something is taking longer than usual for the court we will call to obtain status of the case and update your online notes. In addition to posting the status updates in your online account, we will post your case information in the case information so you are aware of the case and future hearings.
Moreover, we post your contract and payment plan information on the online account for you so that you can view all the information and print it.
We are unable to offer a money back guarantee because the process involves a substantial amount of preparation and sometimes several appearances in court by our attorneys. We cannot afford to offer this low of a price and a money back guarantee.
We can create a payment plan that meets your needs. Please view the pricing for details regarding the payment plans.
We will be glad to work with you to get a copy of your record and to review what can be done. We charge a researching fee to do it and we apply that to the cost of any service that you hire us to perform.
No, it does not matter. We can expunge your juvenile adjudication regardless of what you pled.
If it is denied, it is usually because of (1) an inaccuracy in the court file, (2) an inaccuracy in the application, (3) the court does not believe it will be in the interest of society, (4) violating probation and (5) not paying fines.
If the case is denied, we evaluate the reason for the denial and determine the best way to proceed. If we do not believe that refiling would be successful then we may recommend the person wait longer to refile.
The petition for expungement that is sent to the court will include the individual agencies for the court to send the order to after it is granted. The criminal record databases will be updated to reflect that your juvenile adjudication was expunged and they are required to destroy their records.
Once the court orders the expungement, the court order for expungement will be promptly submitted to the Pennsylvania State Police Central Repository for Criminal History Information. That agency will disseminate the order for expungement to other agencies. We recommend 30 days for the order to be received and updated.
Expungement will not affect your DMV record.
No. You must separately apply to have your gun rights restored. See Pennsylvania gun restoration requirements. Additionally there is also a lifetime prohibition from the United States government (Lautenberg Amendment to the Violence Against Women Act), which prohibits firearm ownership of those convicted of misdemeanor domestic violence as defined by the federal law. Expungement in Pennsylvania does not lift the federal prohibition.
If you have been convicted of minor offenses (including assault, dangerous driving, DUI, theft, shoplifting, unauthorized possession of firearms, possession of illegal substances, etc.) or indictable criminal offenses (including assault with a deadly weapon, manslaughter, etc.) you prohibited from entrance and further action is required to find out whether you will be allowed entrance. The Canadian government has entered into an information sharing agreement with the United States; so the Canadian government will have whatever information the United States has on record. Therefore, the first thing you should do is clear your criminal record to the fullest extent possible before submitting to a background check. The benefit of this will show the Canadian government that the matter was resolved and no longer considered a delinquent adjudication and improve the odds of not being denied entry to Canada or being stuck at the border for lengthy interrogation.
The Border Patrol has discretion in granting or denying Sentri passes. So the only thing we can say for sure is that it would help; so it would be wise to invest in record clearing before applying for a pass. A modest investment in expungement could be the difference between having your request accepted or denied. It will show that you have resolved all matters with the court.
In Pennsylvania, a person can register to vote the moment he is released from incarceration. You lose your right to serve on a jury if you have ever been convicted of a crime punishable by more than 1 year prison. This right can only be restored through a governor's pardon. You lose your right to hold public office (elected/appointed office)if you've been convicted of embezzlement of public money, bribery, perjury or “other infamous crime” (any felony basically). his, too, can only be restored through a governor's pardon.
Criminal violations may have severe consequences for immigrants, even if the crime is expunged/vacated/sealed. Even minor offenses such as petty theft can make someone deportable or inadmissible, while more serious offenses such as burglary may not have the same consequences. Since each case is unique, it is important to get a case-by-case analysis tailored to your specific facts. To find out if your criminal conviction will impact your immigration case it is imperative you contact a qualified immigration attorney. Our in-house immigration attorney is available to answer questions at 714-617-8395.
You can only expunge certain cases. Typically, you have to show that the conviction was wrongful or unconstitutional. Additionally, a person can apply for a pardon through the President. We do not handle federal cases.
Call us 412-568-1432 or Toll Free 877-573-7273
Please take the free online eligibility test before calling.
Law Firm of Higbee & Associates
501 Cambria Ave., Mailbox #332
Bensalem, PA 19020
*By Appointment Only