Pennsylvanians with drug charges on their record face an uphill battle trying to find a job, get a bank loan or do several things that most people take for granted. Your criminal record will follow you and make it significantly more difficult to live your life on the straight and narrow. However, hope is not lost. While getting a drug conviction expunged can prove challenging, you have options.
What It Means to Get Your Charges Expunged
No matter how small or nonviolent, drug convictions can follow you for the rest of your life and significantly impact your ability to get a job, buy a home, or take out a loan. For many people dealing with drug charges and nonviolent convictions that have paid their dues and reformed, it can prove difficult to move forward with their life with the convictions hanging over their heads.
Having the ability to get these charges expunged from your record is a significant deal for anyone. You have the ability to go after more jobs, have a better chance at homeownership, and get your constitutional rights restored. However, getting convictions expunged in Pennsylvania have historically been exceptionally difficult.
Previous Pennsylvania Expungement Laws
If you have been convicted of a misdemeanor drug charge in Pennsylvania, the expungement law remains exceptionally strict. There were only two instances where a judge can officially expunge a felony conviction — the person has been dead for three years, or the person is over 70 years of age and hasn’t been convicted of another crime in the past ten.
It can sometimes be discouraging for people under the age of 70 looking for a reprieve from their felony convictions holding back their job prospects. However, Pennsylvania has seen the expungement statute change significantly in recent years, opening up the eligibility of people to seek expunged convictions under specific circumstances.
The Current Rules for Expungement
While your case remains at the mercy of a judge, more people find themselves eligible for expunged convictions thanks to the PA Senate Bill 391. More misdemeanors were included in the eligible categories. Under the new statute, second and third-degree misdemeanors are now under consideration.
Another significant change to the expungement rules comes down to the time constraints applied to the charges in question. In the last iteration of the law, only people over the age of 70 would receive consideration for expunged convictions. Even then, they would have to have not been convicted of a crime in the previous ten years.
Now nonviolent second and third-degree misdemeanors like possession of drug paraphernalia or possession of a controlled substance can be considered. Additionally, if the offense happened while the defendant was under the age of 25 and they have not had any convictions in the past ten years for second-degree convictions, they can have their case considered. For third-degree convictions, you only have to wait for seven before exploring expunging the charges from your record.
Get Your Drug Charge Bail in Pittsburgh, PA, With Freedom Fast Bail Bonds!
Getting charges expunged from your record after the fact can prove challenging but not impossible with new changes to PA state law. While it is not a magic bullet, it provides more people with hope. For those looking to get their records expunged more quickly, it can prove just as challenging within the confines of the courtroom. While you prepare for your case, getting bail for drug charges in Pittsburgh, PA, is easier with the help of Freedom Fast Bail Bonds.
We help people secure the bail they need to say out of prison while waiting for their day in court. To learn more about the bail bond process, contact us today!