Q: Will a nolle prosquei in another state appear on a criminal background check in Pennsylvania? I have applied for a job, but am currently waiting for the expungement process to finish. How detrimental is this to my chances of landing a job? I wasn’t arrested, but was issued a citation in Baltimore, MD and was forced to do community service, now will this info be available for my potential employer? I reside in Philadelphia, so should I wait to apply so it isn’t a bad reflection on me?
A: Check with a Maryland lawyer. In Pennsylvania, when you receive a nolle pross on a misdemeanor or felony, you still have to expunge the arrest record as it is the arrest records that stay in the system until the defendant pays an attorney to expunge them. With a citation for a summary offense, there is no arrest record but there are court documents that are generated in the system relating to your District Justice court case. Only in certain circumstances, like an ARD case in Allegheny County, but not all counties, does the DA expunge the records free of charge. In the expungement process, it can actually take and estimated nine to fifteen months for your arrest records or other court records to disappear. It may be prudent for you to wait a while before you apply for your job. If you were arrested, whether it was done physically or via summons, you must answer in the affirmative if you are ever asked by a potential employer if you were arrested in the past, even if you were not convicted. If asked if you were ever convicted of a crime, you can answer, no. Being cited with a summary offense, at least in PA, does not involve an arrest. You are merely “cited” so you do not have to state that you were arrested if you are asked. If you are ever asked if you were convicted of a crime and you were in the past found guilty or pled guilty to a felony, misdemeanor or summary offense, you would need to answer yes to this question.