Can you get a misdemeanor expunged?

On Behalf of | Dec 8, 2021 | Criminal Defense

Although misdemeanor convictions aren’t as serious as felonies, they still show up as part of a criminal record and can cause problems in certain aspects of your life, like not being able to get a professional license or the inability to get certain types of aid like school loans. However, Pennsylvania residents may be able to get a misdemeanor expunged from their record under certain circumstances.

Types of crimes eligible for expungement

Misdemeanors are lesser crimes that include petty theft, public intoxication, simple assault, drug possession, reckless driving, and trespassing. Sometimes, a prosecutor will classify a crime as an unspecified misdemeanor if the crime is not a felony and does not fall under a specific category. Your criminal defense team may not be able to have your misdemeanor expunged if you were not arrested for the crime or if the crime was not committed while you were a juvenile.

The American Bar Association defines expungement as the process whereby a criminal conviction is destroyed or sealed from a state or federal record. It essentially directs the court to treat the crime as if it never existed.

Pennsylvania guidelines for expungement

Arrest records that fall under Pennsylvania Rule 320 can possibly be expunged. Misdemeanors for prostitution and other sexually related acts are not eligible for expungement under Pennsylvania law. Among the requirements for getting criminal allegations expunged are that your record must be clean for at least 10 years. Expungement must also follow a specific process.

To have your conviction expunged, you must petition the court in the same jurisdiction where you were convicted. If you get the charges dismissed, the presiding judge may also order that your records can be expunged during the court proceedings.