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Zoey_ JD
Zoey_ JD, JustAnswer Criminal Law Mentor
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 23176
Experience:  Admitted to NYS Criminal defense bar in 1989. Extensive arraignment, hearing, trial experience.
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I was arrested 22 years ago because i took something from a

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I was arrested 22 years ago because i took something from a department store. I paid a fine. I was working for a recognized company but unfortunately got laid off. Now I am applying for jobs and I recently got 3 job offers, but got turned down because of the background check. What should I do?
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Criminal Law
Expert:  Zoey_ JD replied 5 years ago.

Unfortunately, Pennsylvania is one of the more harsh states when it comes to getting a matter expunged. Unless your conviction was for a summary offense, you literally have to be 70 (and out of trouble for 10 years) or you have to be dead for three years. I know that sounds pretty incredible, but you can see this for yourself here. Pennsylvania wants its convictions to stick.

If you were convicted of a summary offense, you do not need a lawyer to apply for your expungement. It's one of the few areas of do-it-yourself law were applicants can be successful all by themselves if they are not intimidated. You would have to petition the court, and you can find instructions on the above link.

If your conviction was not a summary offence, the only other thing you can do to minimize the effects of your conviction would be to apply to the governor of Pennsylvania for a pardon. This doesn't erase a conviction or seal a record. But it will be shown as pardoned, if yours is granted, which is still official state recognition that you have turned your life around. YOu don't need a lawyer to get this done either, although it is only fair to tell you that a gubernatorial pardon is always a long shot.

. Here is a sample of the application for a pardon in Pennsylvania. But the Board of Pardons asks its applicants to contact them directly for forms. You can find their contact number here.
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