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Criminal Law: New Statute Facilitates Expungement of Criminal History for Summary Offenses

Posted By Cliff Tuttle | December 4, 2008

Posted by Cliff Tuttle

Word is that House Bill No. 1543 was signed by the Governor, amending the Crimes Code to authorize expungement of the criminal history of summary offenses, subject to conditions, exceptions, etc.

There are three basic ways to qualify:

1. Turn 70 and be free from arrest or prosecution for ten years since release from incarceration or supervision;

2. Die and stay dead for three years;

3. Petition the court after being free of arrest and prosecution for five years.

The first two avenues appear not to require a court order.

Expungement by court order is not available, however, to those who received ARD for rape and a long list of sex crimes where the victim was under age 18.

However, expungement doesn’t mean that the police and prosecutors can’t keep files and share the information with one another. They can. It simply means that the public cannot access the expunged information through the on line database maintained statewide by the Pennsylvania courts.

Rep. Tim Solobay, the principal sponsor of the bill says that it will speed the existing expungement procedure.



CLIFF TUTTLE has been a Pennsylvania lawyer for over 45 years and (inter alia) is a real estate litigator and legal writer. The posts in this blog are intended to provide general information about legal topics of interest to lawyers and consumers with a Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania focus. However, this information does not constitute legal advice and there is no lawyer-client relationship created when you read this blog. You are encouraged to leave comments but be aware that posted comments can be read by others. If you wish to contact me in privacy, please use the Contact Form located immediately below this message. I will reply promptly and in strict confidence.

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