In Pennsylvania, expungements are only available to erase conviction for summary offenses like disorderly conduct, underage drinking or harassment. In order to qualify to expunge a summary conviction, applicants are required to be crime-free for a period of five years prior to submitting their application.
Nonconviction data-in other words, the record of arrests and charges that did not result in a conviction-is treated differently. All nonconviction data is immediately eligible for expungement. In the event of an acquittal or in cases where the district attorney chose to withdraw all the charges (like where the applicant successfully completed the ARD program), applicants are automatically entitled to an expungement upon filing an application. Where certain charges remain on the applicant’s record because of a plea bargain and conviction for other charges, expungement of the nonconviction data is discretionary with the judge. Gawthrop Greenwood routinely handles all kinds of expungement cases, usually for a flat fee.
Pardons are different from expungements, and not only can result in a clean record, but also come with a full restoration of civil rights, including the right to purchase and own a firearm. The process for applying for a pardon, however, is both complicated and can take an extremely long time. Pardon hearings take place in Harrisburg, so the process can be expensive. Gawthrop Greenwood does handle pardon applications but, as a result of the distances and time requirements, cannot do so on a flat-fee basis.
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