Often times, shoplifting cases involve an individual being stopped by a loss prevention agent before actually leaving the store property with the unpaid merchandise. What most people don't realize is that you can still be charged, and convicted, of shoplifting even if you never make it through the exit.
Expungement, or "setting aside a criminal conviction," effectively erases an individual's criminal record to the public. When a record is expunged, information regarding arrests or convictions is not available in background checks. If you successfully expunge your record, when you apply for a loan, an apartment, or a job, the offense does not legally have to be disclosed.
In the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, there are very few circumstances in which you are eligible to have convictions expunged from your criminal record. In fact, only summary offenses are eligible for expungement, and you must wait five (5) years from the date of conviction before you can make the request. Misdemeanors and felonies can never be expunged. However, there are two exceptions to this rule. First, individuals who are over the age of seventy (70), and have been free of arrest or prosecution for ten (10) years following release from confinement or supervision, can be granted an expungement of their record. Second, in most circumstances, those who successfully complete an A.R.D. (Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition) program can have their charges expunged.
In June of this year, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a landmark ruling in Birchfield v. North Dakota which affects every driver who is stopped by the police on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. This ruling will cause states to reevaluate how they process suspected intoxicated drivers.