When someone files a petition for expungement in Pennsylvania, there is a specific procedure which occurs next: The Commonwealth reviews the expungement petition and has an opportunity to either agree to the petition for expungement or object to the petition for expungement.

If the Commonwealth agrees to the expungement, an Order is sent to a Court of Common Pleas Judge who signs an Order directing the law enforcement agencies involved in the charging and arrest of the petitioner (any county courts, police departments, district attorney’s office, etc.) to either seal all records pertaining to the charge which will be expunged and return those records to the petitioner or destroy all the records.

If the Commonwealth objects to the petition for expungement, the Court schedules a hearing to determine whether justice requires the expungement of the petitioner’s criminal history. At the hearing, the Court considers certain, non-exclusive factors in making its decision: the strength of the Commonwealth’s case against the petitioner; Commonwealth’s reasons for wishing to retain the petitioner’s arrest record; the Petitioner’s age; the petitioner’s criminal history; the length of time between the arrest, the dismissal, and the petition for expungement; any adverse consequences if the petition for expungement is denied; and any other factors the court deems relevant.

Because petitions for expungement require a specific procedure set forth by law and could require a hearing, it’s important to seek legal representation. Contact the attorneys at the Kelly Law Firm for a free inquiry regarding petitions for expungement.