REMOVING CRIMINAL RECORDS
Pardon Project of Washington County
Pardon applications in Pennsylvania are free, more accessible than ever, and a powerful tool for those who deserve a second chance. No lawyer is needed, and over 80% of people who go before the Board of Pardons are granted a pardon from their record - total forgiveness by the state requiring the courts and law enforcement to erase your record. Washington County has formed a team of public officials, lawyers, nonprofits, and community leaders to help applicants write the best pardon application they can.
Do you have a nonviolent Washington County record at least three years old? Do you live in Washington County and have such a record? Or will you volunteer to help someone clear their record? Learn about our pardon project here.
Expungement and Sealing Records
Don’t let old arrests and convictions hold you back from getting ahead in life. Even if charges are withdrawn or dismissed or you are found not guilty, charges stay on your public record. Some old misdemeanor convictions on your public record do not need to remain there. These can interfere with your ability to get a job, get housing or public assistance, enlist in the military and even protect your parental rights. But there are ways to fix this.
Expunging and sealing records can help you by either clearing your record or removing it from public view. Expunged records are destroyed and gone forever. While law enforcement and the courts can still access sealed records, employers, landlords and the general public cannot.
As long as you haven’t been convicted of a charge, we can petition for either a full or partial expungement. In some misdemeanor cases, you can be cleared of a conviction as well; see below for details.
Expungements can be granted for any conviction in these limited circumstances:
SEALING BY PETITION
Sealing by petition
If you are ineligible for expungement or sealing, you can apply for a pardon. This is a long process: after submission, it takes at least two years, and includes an investigation by the Board of Probation and Parole and a hearing before the Board of Pardons. The following are taken into consideration when deciding whether or not to grant a pardon:
HOW WE CAN HELP
If you need an expungement lawyer, we can advise you on whether you are eligible to petition for expungement, sealing or a pardon for your record. We can petition to expunge or seal your record at no cost.
The PA State Police criminal background must be attached to the petition, and it is filed with the Clerk of Courts, which submits to the District Attorney’s Office for its consent or objection, and then it is presented to the assigned Judge. For local rules, go to www.co.fayette.pa.us.
The PA State Police criminal background must be attached to the petition, and it is submitted to the District Attorney’s Office for its consent or objection, then presented to the assigned Judge. For local rules, go to www.co.greene.pa.us.
The PA State Police criminal background must be attached to the petition, and it is submitted to the District Attorney’s Office for its consent or objection, then presented to the assigned Judge. For local rules, go to www.co.somerset.pa.us.
Expungement applications must go to the District Attorney’s Office for consent or objection. If the DA’s Office objects, a hearing can be requested. If probation was involved due to ARD or Probation Without Verdict, the application must first go to the Clerk of Courts to confirm all costs have been paid, then to Adult Probation to confirm your compliance with its supervision. The Unified Judicial System docket of the case must be attached to the petition. For local rules, go to www.washingtoncourts.us.
The criminal records law is found at 18 Pa.C.S. Chapter 91. Your dockets can be viewed at http://ujsportal.pacourts.us, and criminal backgrounds can be obtained at http://www.psp.pa.gov.
For more online information, go to www.palawhelp.org.