Q: I need my Act 34 clearances for a day care position. I have a felony endangering the welfare of a child? (McKeesport, PA)
A: If you were convicted, no. You will need to find alternative work. If you were not convicted, meaning, the charge was withdrawn, dismissed or you were found not guilty, the arrest record may still exist, and you can expunge it. Then, if expunged you would be eligible.
Q: I provided a false name and then later sucked it up and told them. I went to court for it and was told I had to do community service. I completed my community service, and everything was ok. But on job applications it asks if I have had a misdemeanor before. I’m confused if it shows I have one or not. (Pittsburgh, PA)
A: I suggest that you find out if you pleaded guilty to the crime or were found guilty, and if so what specific crime it was and how it was graded. If “guilty” was entered, you must answer yes if asked if you were ever charged or convicted of a crime. If you were found not guilty or the misdemeanor or felony was dismissed or withdrawn, you would have to answer yes if asked if you were ever charged with a misdemeanor. If asked if you were convicted, you can answer no. If you were not convicted (not guilty, withdrawn, dismissed) of a misdemeanor or felony, the arrest record will nonetheless still exist, and you must pay an attorney to expunge it. Also, certain misdemeanors can be expunged after a certain amount of time passes. I suggest you copy your court documents from the UJS portal website or from the Allegheny County Clerk of Courts and take them to your lawyer. Once you are charged with a crime, that records stays in the system even if the charge is ultimately dismissed, withdrawn or you are found not guilty.
Q: I have a 27-year-old felony. I was charged with involuntary manslaughter and aggravated assault from May 1991. How can I get out of this? (Pittsburgh, PA)
A: I think you are asking how to get this charge taken off you record which is called an expungement You cannot get it expunged since you were convicted, and it was a felony. Until the legislature allows expungements of felonies, you are stuck. When asked, perhaps you can put a favorable spin on it. You will need to file for a Pardon. Consult with an attorney who handles pardons.
Q: My son pleaded guilty to underage drinking on a college campus in Ohio Labor Day weekend of 2017. He did the diversion program to completion and submitted paperwork for expungement. It is currently dismissed and should be complete by June 1. Unfortunately, he ran into trouble visiting friends in PA this spring and was cited by a campus police officer for underage drinking. Does he have to disclose his expungement in OH to a judge if asked? Will it be considered a second offense if it happened in a different state? Or considered first offense in PA? the officer told me he would only be asking the judge for community service time at the time of his hearing. Should we ask for a continuance until after the Ohio expungement is finalized before having the hearing in PA with the campus officer? (Pittsburgh, PA)
A: If the prior case happened in PA, the police on the new case would be able to see he had a prior citation for a 6308 offense. Therefore, he would not be eligible for a second chance at a diversion. You would think that police could not find the first case, because it was expunged, but District Attorneys seems to be able to access cases that are expunged. Whether the PA police will be able to see the prior Ohio citation, I am not certain. Your son has no obligation to offer the fact that he does have a prior. Only if he is sworn in to testify and is under oath and asked by the District Justice here in PA, would have to tell the truth. At his new hearing, let the officer tell you if a diversionary program is on the table, and if it is, jump on it.
Q: I was convicted of Arson 30 years ago at age 19. Received 3 years of probation with 1-year jail time. I turned myself in, it was my first offense and I had a good lawyer. I had my record expunged 25 years ago in CA (1203.4). I obtained R.N. license in CA and PA and still practice in PA. I serve as licensed Minister in local church. Will PA grant me license to own and carry? Last employment change to work in hospital had the record on it, with notice of expungement included. (Wexford, PA)
A: Expunged, at least in PA, means that the criminal records have been deleted and destroyed and they should not show on your criminal history. Only certain types of arrest records and conviction records are eligible to be expunged in PA. My advice to you, and for anyone I do expungement work for, is to obtain your criminal history from the PA State Police. If your criminal history shows this crime, then you can begin the inquiry as to why, if it was supposedly expunged. Did the court administration in CA just not send the order to expunge out, or, does PA not acknowledge an expungement of this category of crime from another state when it is not eligible to be expunged in PA. I would have to inquire myself and I would start by obtaining your criminal history. My concern is that because the crime of Arson is not eligible to be expunged in PA, you may have a problem. However, I would inquire before throwing in the proverbial towel.
Q: In 2015 I was arrested for a domestic violence incident and initially charged with misdemeanor and locked up in the county prison for a week until I posted bail. Later, all the misdemeanor charges were changed to summary offenses and I was sentenced to probation and fines. All these events were covered by our local newspaper, they made this news available in their printed and online editions. The news available on the online edition is highly impacting my reputation. Also, if someone googles my name, the news articles appear on the top 3 search results. I have reached out to the newspaper to remove the internet content, but they are not responding me. I presume the news agency has their rights to cover such news, but it is highly impacting my personal life, reputation and giving me lot of depression. This is my first ever arrest and conviction. I would like to know, if an attorney can help me to get the two years old news off from the news website. Thank you. (Pittsburgh, PA)
A: The newspaper has a 1st Amendment to print news and editorial. Moreover, this is public information and unfortunately, if the information is accurate and true, publication cannot be stopped. If the newspaper did not subsequently publish that your charges were reduced to summary offenses, then it would be fair for them to print the result, as a correction, which will perhaps lessen the blow to you. The downside is that with a second article, you run the risk of more people seeing it who may not have even seen the first one. What you should know is that you now have an arrest record for all of the misdemeanor charges that you were originally arrested for. You have a right to have these original charges expunged since they were withdrawn and amended to summary offenses. That will make you look better at least on the major criminal data bases. After five years of arrest free behavior you can expunge the summary offenses. Unfortunately, the smaller private, rogue websites out there may have records of the charges that are not expunged. After your expungement goes through you can write to them with the information and demand a correction.
Q: Seven years-ago I took a plea deal. I was 20 years old and made a horrible mistake. This was the one and only time I ever got in trouble. When I took the deal, no one explained to me I would be in ineligible for expungement. Not my lawyer, not the DA, not the judge. I never would have never taken the deal if I had known this. What are my option? Can I do anything? All advice is greatly appreciated. Thank you in advance. (Carrick, PA)
A: I suggest confirming what crime you pleaded guilty to, so you are certain it is a felony. You can do this by ordering your criminal history from the PA State Police. Under the present state of the law, a felony cannot be expunged. You are well out of your appeal range. You must appeal within thirty days of your sentencing. Or, under the Post-Conviction Relief Act, you have one-year to file. You may want to consult with a criminal appeals attorney, but my thought is that it is too late to challenge the appeal. I know of no law that requires anyone to inform you at the time of your plea that you will be ineligible to expunge. The fact that you are entering a guilty plea to a crime should put you on notice of a conviction, although, I understand what you are saying. I always inform my clients that their conviction will result in a record which they may not be eligible to expunge.
Q: I’ve always heard after 7 years your criminal record means less. I’m just wondering why? Thank you in advance! (West Homestead, PA)
A: You have heard wrong. There is no expiration date for most criminal records. Under the recent amendments to PA law, you can now expunge a misdemeanor 2 after 10 years of arrest free behavior and a misdemeanor 3 after 7 years of arrest free behavior. Also, summary (Disorderly Conduct, Harassment, etc.) convictions can expunged after 5 years of arrest-free living. Please remember that the arrest record remains in the system even if your case was dismissed, withdrawn or you were not found guilty.
Q: I received a misdemeanor under the Drug and cosmetic Act for Pa State Board of Nursing. For my first offense, I was offered an ARD. I checked my criminal court record numbers, they stated NO RECORDS EXIST. I am job seeking, worried about my record and decided to Google myself. There it is, my name, license number, offense, and punishment of 1-year suspension listed. WTF? This will prevent me from getting a job and now I must explain my misdemeanor. Isn’t that what the auto expungement was for as stated. I paid my fine in full, finished my probation of 3 months. It is over, the 1-year probation as well starting 4/20/16 to 4/20/17. Why are they listing it still? What gives? I do realize the state board and criminal court are two different entities. I just don’t know what I didn’t’ do correct. Will it go away ever? Please advise. Thank you. (Pittsburgh, PA)
A: It sounds like you successfully completed ARD in Allegheny County and the DA expunged your record for you. Your expungement removes all records from criminal data bases such as Allegheny County, the Bureau of Criminal Information, the Uniform Judicial System, the PA State Police and the FBI. There is no way for the expungement order to reach the hundreds of criminal record search websites proliferating the internet. It is possible that one or more than one of them have your arrest record posted. You can send them a certified letter demanding them to remove it or correct it. It is most likely that a future employer in PA will run your record through the PA State Police and not rely on any of the hundreds of rogue websites that provide this “service.” You can always answer, I was never convicted of a crime, truthfully. If asked were you ever arrested, you will have to say yes. Additionally, if the state board took some action against you, that has nothing to do with criminal court. That information is controlled by whatever board you are licensed by. If their disciplinary action against you was posted on the internet, you must ask them why so and how to remove it.
Q: I’ve been raising my eight-year-old old niece since she was three. On April 15, 2015, I was charged with retail theft and had the record expunged in November of 2016. My niece’s paternal grandmonster was granted visitation rights in June of 2016. Prior to filing the grandmother posted on FB that “I’m a malicious little b**ch” for having FB remove pictures. In a comment to the post she states, “better than going to jail for hitting the b**ch over the head with a bat.” At the first custody hearing she was told to remove all pics by hearing officer, but the day prior to the March 16th hearing she made another profile picture and we showed the master. When leaving the hearing she called me a “f’ n “C” and to watch my back.” Also in March 16th, she called the soccer organization I coach for and told them of my charges. On June 16th, she made a fake FB profile of me. On September 16th, she told me she was going to beat my ass at a child’s birthday party. On December 16th, she called my salon and spoke bad of me and messaged the soccer coach under a fake name. On Jan 17th, she messaged the soccer organization of a copy of my charges she had from June 16th. They were expunged and told my niece she is going to live with them and not see me again. On February 17th, she messaged the soccer organization again. On Mar 16th, I was told about messages from the child. (Pittsburgh, PA)
A: This is an unfortunate situation and this behavior is why I significantly reduced my family law practice. As far as someone distributing an expunged record, I do not know how someone can distribute an expunged record if the record has been expunged. If the record is expunged the state police criminal history should show nothing. If what you are saying is that she forwarded copies of your charges to another person, I do not believe you have a lawsuit as normally arrest records are court documents and therefore public information, for all to see. If what you mean is that somehow the expungement petition and related paperwork from the lawyer handling it, were sent to a third party, this is probably not a good law suit either. This happened to one of my clients who stupidly kept his sexual assault expungement papers he received from me in the visor of his truck and his new girlfriend found them. By the way, there are a lot of number 15, 16 and 17’s in your question.