A New Chance to Receive Criminal Expungements in Pennsylvania
While the issues of redemption and recidivism are always up for debate, many believe that once a criminal serves their time, they should have an opportunity to successfully reintegrate into society. Nowhere is this more evident than in the job-hunting arena, where former criminals often hit stumbling blocks during background checks. Seeking a criminal expungement is the main form of relief for this problem, but in Pennsylvania, criminal defense lawyers know that expungements are granted only for non-convictions — at least, until now?
Expungement Laws in Pennsylvania
An expungement is a civil action filed with the goal of erasing a criminal offense from an individual’s record. Laws surrounding criminal expungement vary from state to state, and in Pennsylvania, they’re especially tough. Convictions of any type, no matter how minor, cannot be expunged, period, with two effectively useless exceptions:
- The individual reaches the age of 70; or,
- The individual dies. Even then, in a perplexing additional requirement, they have to be dead for at least three years before an expungement can be received.
This has caused problems for thousands of Pennsylvania residents who, because of a trivial offense committed years or even decades ago, struggle to find employment. If someone seeking a job in 2013 stole a pair of shoes twenty years ago — even if they have been clean, productive citizens since then — they are extremely likely to be passed over, as the Society for Human Resource Management reports that over 80% of employers conduct background checks.
How Bill 391 Will Change Criminal Expungements in Pensylvania
In a stroke of good news for thousands of former petty criminals, an emerging bill might make a world of difference. Senate Bill 391, introduced by Pennsylvania Democratic Senator Tim Solobay, has been passed by the Senate, and is now making its way through the House of Representatives for approval. The bill would allow for a chance at criminal expungement for individuals convicted of 2nd and 3rd Degree misdemeanors, provided that 10 or seven years without an arrest or conviction have passed, respectively. The bill does not offer any expungement privileges to violent offenders, repeat offenders, or to those who have committed sex offenses, firearm offenses, or animal abuse.
Countless studies show that individuals who are unemployed and who feel isolated and disconnected from their communities are more likely to commit crimes. The Pennsylvania Department of Corrections cites a 55% rate of recidivism for released criminals looking five years out. It also reports annual spending of over $32,000 per inmate — and between a languishing national economy and the ever-increasing prison population, Bill 391 could provide financial relief for the state as a whole. By introducing former criminals — who have since proven themselves model citizens — to greater employment opportunities, crime rates are expected to drop, while employment rates increase.
If you or a loved one is facing criminal charges, contact the criminal defense lawyers of Young, Marr & Associates today to discuss your case.
NO JAIL TIME
Commonwealth v. "H" (DUI case)
Client was charged with three separate DUI cases calling for mandatory minimum imprisonment of 90 days on each case. Client was advised to seek immediate intensive alcohol counseling. Client was sentenced to 1 year of house arrest after serving 3 days in the county prison.
Commonwealth v. "C" (Felony drug/Firearms case)
Client was charged with felony Delivery of drugs and illegal gun possession and was facing a mandatory 3-6 year prison sentence in the State prison system. Client was sentenced to one year of house arrest.
Commonwealth v. "S"
Client was charged with simple assault, domestic. After a hearing where evidence and testimony was presented, the entire case was dismissed by Judge Leonard Brown.
State of New Jersey v. "H"
Charges for young man charged with second degree aggravated assault were downgraded to third degree and he was accepted into the County Pretrial Intervention program with charges to be dismissed and record expunged after one year of misconduct free behavior.
OUR CRIMINAL DEFENSE TEAM INCLUDES TWO FORMER DISTRICT ATTORNEYS
We have decades of experience dealing with local police departments, prosecutors, and judges throughout southeastern Pennsylvania and New Jersey.
Anyone facing charges involving a criminal offense can expect to experience a heightened degree of emotional turmoil, for themselves, as well as their family members. Our team of highly qualified criminal law attorneys and expert legal support staff are committed to providing each of our client’s with the compassion and understanding they deserve, as well as an aggressive plan for representation at an affordable price.
As former prosecutors, we have a balanced and in-depth understanding of the criminal justice system and how the prosecution prepares cases. In addition, we have long-standing experience dealing with local police departments, prosecutors and judges throughout southeastern Pennsylvania and New Jersey.
At Young, Marr and Associates, when we say “experience matters,” we mean it. Our lawyers, which include two former prosecutors and a former senior deputy district attorney bring more than three decades of criminal law experience, handling more than 10,000 criminal cases. It is precisely that experience that allows us to achieve outstanding results for our clients facing DUI, traffic, felony and misdemeanor charges in state, federal and juvenile courts.