Expungement in Philadelphia
Expungement means to purge or remove any information of past criminal charges from law enforcement records or any other official database that may be in possession of the information. In order to have your criminal record expunged, you must file a formal petition with the court in the county where you were charged requesting that the desired records be removed or deleted. Generally, a hearing will be scheduled on your petition to determine if expungement is appropriate and whether the prosecution opposes your petition. If your case is withdrawn by the prosecution, dismissed by the court or you are found not guilty after trial, do not assume that the charges will automatically be removed from your record. While the appropriate disposition will be recorded, evidence of the arrest and the charges will remain on your record and accessible by current or prospective employers, the military and the public to view unless a petition is filed and an order is signed granting expungement.
The expungement process has been codified by Pennsylvania law and therefore there is a uniform petition that must be filed in every county across the state. However, this does not mean that every county and/or District Attorney’s Office handles expungements the same. In fact, the contrary seems to be true. While many prosecutors will not oppose expungement under the right circumstances, they each seem to have their own requirements to satisfy and the courts will often not sign the expungement order until the prosecutor’s office is in agreement. Some offices require that you obtain a letter of joinder or a certificate of non-opposition that must be attached to the petition while others will require that a hearing be held even if they are not going to oppose the expungement. Therefore, it is important that you consult with an experienced expungement attorney who is familiar with the local practice so that the petition can be filed correctly the first time and there will be no delays in having the records deleted.
Philadelphia expungement attorney Brian M. Fishman has drafted and filed hundreds of expungement petitions in many different counties, including Philadelphia, Montgomery, Delaware, Bucks and Chester counties. In addition, he has filed petitions to expunge juvenile records in these same counties.