Unfortunately, one's criminal records
stay with you for all your life, unless you are eligible to do something proactive like apply for an expungement
or pardon. In some states, there is a 7 year rule, beyond which employers cannot go when doing a criminal
background check. However, PA has not subscribed to a rule like this. What any one employer will do is up to him, but with a formal background check, your offense will turn up.
I wish I could give you better news, therefore, about expungement, but Pennsylvania cuts offenders no slack. Unless you have been convicted of a summary offense or you got ARD, you have to wait until you are 70 years olf or until you have been dead for 3 years (really -- I am not kidding) to get an expungement. 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.
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