What Can Be Done About a Criminal Record?

True of FalseHow can I clean up my record? Can my criminal record be expunged?

A criminal conviction can stand in the way of school admissions, job prospects, jury participation, and the ability to carry or own a firearm, to name just a few of the ramifications of having your record tarnished. Allow us to clear up a few misconceptions about your “permanent record”, and how to clean it up, if possible.

MISCONCEPTION #1: “I was never convicted, so my record is clean.”

Not true. If you have been named as a defendant in a criminal complaint and haven’t had it expunged, there is a record of it.

Information concerning your arrest, the charges, and ultimate disposition of your case are maintained by multiple agencies, including the police department that arrested you, the District Attorney’s Office of the county in which you were prosecuted, the Administrative Office of the Pennsylvania Courts, and other law enforcement agencies – even if you were never convicted.

MISCONCEPTION #2: “My record is confidential, so no one knows.”

Details of every aspect of your case, with the exception of your home address and social security number, are available – unless your record has been expunged.

Although your official “Criminal History” from the Pennsylvania State Police is only available at your specific request, information concerning your arrest, charges, and how your case was resolved are freely available for anyone to view online through the Administrative Office of the Pennsylvania Courts.

MISCONCEPTION #3: “I was pardoned, so my record is clean.”

A pardon does not expunge your record, although it does permit you to seek to have the record expunged. The only way to remove information from your record is to have it expunged.

MISCONCEPTION #4: “My juvenile crimes got expunged automatically.”

Probably not. Although it is easier to expunge juvenile matters, they are not automatically expunged. Accelerated Rehabilitative Dispositions (ARD) may be expunged, but it is up to you to request it and follow through with the appropriate agencies. Section 17 dispositions (special probation in drug cases that don’t result in a conviction) do not wipe the record of your arrest off the books; this can only be done through a formal expungement of the arrest.


Generally speaking, the availability of expungement is limited to certain circumstances and is almost never guaranteed. It is important to have an attorney examine your case to determine if expungement is possible, and to ensure that it is done correctly.

Call the Law Offices of James W. Flood, P.C. to speak to an experienced attorney about clearing your record.

Posted on December 1, 2014, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Comments Off on What Can Be Done About a Criminal Record?.

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