Facade of the Montgomery County Courthouse, featuring stately columns and stone stairs, under a blue sky with scattered clouds. Signs for the Montgomery County Criminal Defense Lawyer are visible at the entrance.

Expungement Lawyer, Montgomery County, Pennsylvania

If you have a criminal record, it can affect your life in many ways. For example, it can affect your ability to get a good job, a loan, or even child custody. It can also affect your housing and your right to purchase a firearm. However, if you qualify, you can have your criminal record expunged, which means that no one can find it through a public search. If you are interested in expungement, please get in touch with a seasoned expungement lawyer from Cohen & Patel today.

An Expungement Lawyer is Key to Helping You Get a Fresh Start

Our priority is ensuring our clients succeed, and expungement can be one part of that process. If you think you qualify to have your record cleared, a dedicated Pottstown criminal defense lawyer from our legal team will represent you and guide you through the process.

What Is the Expungement Process in Pottstown, Pennsylvania?

The expungement process in Pennsylvania is relatively straightforward if you know what you are doing. Below is a summary of the basics.

  • Complete form SP 4-170.
  • Mail the form to the Central Repository address, which is listed on the form, along with:
    • A certified check or money order for $20.00 (subject to change) payable to “Commonwealth of Pennsylvania”;
    • A copy of a government-issued photo ID (e.g., driver’s license)
    • Legal affidavit or letter of representation — if it was required
  • Upon receipt of your arrest and criminal conviction record from the Central Repository, you contact the Clerk of Courts in the county where your arrest took place. This is where it can get tricky. Each county may have a slightly different procedure for petitioning the court to expunge your arrest and court records.

After you complete your county’s instructions, the court will consider certain factors to determine if your record should be expunged. These factors include:

  • how the record harms you and your future;
  • your source of income;
  • the crime that was committed and the circumstances around it;
  • any prior criminal record and
  • if it’s in the Commonwealth’s best interests (meaning the public’s best interest) to expunge your record.

If the court issues an order for expungement, the Clerk of Courts will notify the Pennsylvania State Police, and the record will be expunged. The overall process can take anywhere between four and six months, with the exception of minors who may see their expungement take effect immediately and persons who participated in Section 17 probation who will see expungement take effect automatically.

You should keep in mind that the District Attorney’s Office can object to your expungement request. That said, the court has the final say. Your attorney can ensure that the forms are completed properly and all steps are taken in a timely manner. If you retain an expungement lawyer, he will also represent you at the hearing.

Who Qualifies for Expungement?

Though Pennsylvania is more generous about expungements than most other states, the list of who qualifies is still quite limited. Only the following persons can be successful when requesting an expungement in Montgomery County:

  • Persons who received a summary offense and five years free of any criminal activity must have transpired.
  • Persons who received Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (ARD), the Small Amount Marijuana Program, or Section 17 probation and completed the program successfully.
  • Persons who were arrested but not convicted can have their arrest record expunged, and this includes:
    • dismissed cases;
    • withdrawn cases;
    • nolle processed instances; and
    • cases where the person was found not guilty.
  • Persons must not have been convicted of a felony or misdemeanor unless he or she received a pardon.
  • Persons who are 70 or older and have had no arrests within the last ten years.
  • Persons who are juveniles can have most types of juvenile cases expunged if:
    • there are no subsequent convictions;
    • there are no subsequent adjudications;
    • there are no pending charges;
    • five years have passed since the completion of the sentence and
    • the crime was not a sex offense.

At the time of your request, you must also not have any pending charges against you and your criminal record must otherwise be clean — expungement is for one specific event and not a series of criminal arrests.

What Are Alternatives to Expungement?

When a person does not qualify for expungement, there may be an alternative that can be helpful. You could qualify:

  • Record sealing applies only to certain misdemeanors and refers to limited access to a person’s arrest and conviction records — only certain agencies have access; thus, the records may not be generated for things like an employment background check.
  • Pardon involves a request to the Governor to pardon your conviction. If pardoned, you will be eligible for expungement — anyone can apply for a pardon, and the pardon can address a person’s entire criminal record.

Contact a Trusted Expungement Lawyer in Pottstown, PA

Here at Cohen & Patel, we understand how important it is for our clients to have their arrest and criminal court records expunged. It can mean the difference between quality living and just getting by. Contact a dedicated expungement lawyer from our firm today so we can get started working on your case. Based in Pottstown, Pennsylvania, we serve clients throughout Eastern PA, including in Montgomery County, Chester County, Berks County, and East Norriton, Norristown, Allentown, Lancaster, Bensalem, Easton, Levittown, Bethlehem, Erie, Mechanicsburg, Chester, Harrisburg, and more.

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