When a client comes to me regarding a minor criminal defense matter, one of the greatest concerns they have is what impact a possible conviction can have on their criminal record and if the incident can be expunged. A person's criminal record can be expunged under a number of circumstances and will depend on the type of crime a person commits and the outcome of the case.
First, a summary offense may be expunged after 5 years have passed following resolution of the case. So, for offenses such as public intoxication, harassment, disorderly conduct, or retail theft of items with a value of less than $150, the offending party can petition the court to have the record expunged once the 5 years have elapsed.
Second, if the person seeking the expungement has reached 70 years of age and has been free from arrest or prosecution for ten years, he may have his entire record expunged. Additionally, once a person is deceased, that record can be expunged if family members do not wish there to be a record of the deceased's criminal history posthumously. In either of these two instances, crimes other than summary offenses can be removed from a person's record.
There is, however, one category of crimes where the offender can not have his or her record expunged at all. If a person has committed a sex crime against an individual and the victim was less than 18 years of age, the offender is never eligible to have his or her record expunged.
If you have been convicted of a summary offense and 5 years have elapsed or were found not guilty and simply want any evidence of the charges removed from your record, contact an experienced criminal defense attorney to review your case. Depending on the circumstances, an attorney may be able to remove any trace of your criminal history in a short time.