A new bill introduced earlier this year would make it easier for individuals acquitted of a crime to move on with their lives. Many individuals struggle to clear their criminal records after an acquittal. Some lawmakers believe that an acquittal should be automatically wiped off a criminal record. This law seeks to make that happen.
Expungement Upon Pardon or Full Acquittal
House Bill 440 has the support of numerous lawmakers and groups. If the bill passes in its current form, it will grant automatic expungement to individuals who are fully acquitted of a crime. It would not apply to individuals who are partially acquitted, and the state would have the option of objecting to the automatic expungement before the court grants the expungement.
As the law stands now, a person acquitted of a crime must petition the court to have the criminal charges removed from his or her record. The expungement process can be complicated, time-consuming, and costly for many individuals. The bill would eliminate the fees that are now required to expunge a record in the event of a pardon or an acquittal.
It is crucial that individuals have the opportunity to have a clean record after an acquittal. A criminal record significantly impacts an individual’s life. For instance, a recent University of Michigan study revealed that individuals who had their criminal charges cleared from their records experienced an average pay increase of 25 percent within two years.
While the bill may not address all issues related to expungements, it could make it easier, less costly, and faster for individuals who are pardoned or acquitted to move on with their lives.
Are You Eligible to Receive an Expungement in Pennsylvania?
In some cases, you may be entitled to an expungement even though you plead guilty or were found guilty of a crime. An Erie criminal defense attorney can review your case to determine if you may be eligible for an expungement. Clearing your criminal record has numerous benefits.
You may be eligible to receive an expungement if any of the following applies in your case:
- You were found not guilty of the criminal charge by a jury or judge.
- Your criminal charges with withdrawn or nolle prossed by the DA’s office before trial.
- The court dismissed your criminal charges because of a lack of evidence or lack of prosecution.
- You entered a plea of “no contest” under a Section 17 or 18 program of the Drug Act and your charges with withdrawn after you completed all requirements of the program.
- You completed an ARD program, including paying all fees and costs required by the program.
- Your guilty verdict or guilty plea for a summary offense occurred more than five years ago, and you have not had any arrests since that date.
Contact an Erie Criminal Defense Attorney for More Information
If you need help clearing your criminal record, contact The Travis Law Firm for a free consultation with an Erie criminal defense lawyer. Call (800) 401-2066 now to speak with a representative.