Experienced Pennsylvania Expungement Lawyers

Thank you for visiting Lampman Law. If you think a record of a Protection from Abuse Order (PFA) is keeping you from gaining your desired employment or from any partaking in any pursuit requiring a background check, please call Lampman Law at 570-371-3737 to personally discuss your eligibility for an expungement with an experienced criminal defense attorney.

Pennsylvania Maintains PFA Records

In Pennsylvania, all records of PFAs are maintained in a statewide registry database. PFA records may also be accessible by searching a county’s docket filing database. Records of any police investigation concerning an incident related to a PFA may also be maintained.  

Expunging PFA Records in PA

While neither Pennsylvania expungement statutes, nor the Protection From Abuse Act (PFAA) specifically authorize the expungement of PFA records, our appellate courts have held that certain PFA records are eligible for expungement to protect a person’s reputation interests.

Temporary PFAs & Dismissed PFAs - Eligible

In P.E.S. v. K.L., the Superior Court first held that expungement of a PFA record is permissible subject to the Wexler balancing test. 720 A.2d 487 (Pa. Super. 1998). In that case, the Court granted expungement for a PFA that dismissed in the Court of Common Pleas.

A few years later, in Carlacci v. Mazaleski, the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania held that expungement of a PFA was available “as a matter of law” when the proceedings never evolved beyond the temporary order stage. 798 A.2d 186 (Pa. 2002). Importantly, the Supreme Court explained in Carlacci that when a PFA petition is dismissed by court order or the PFA proceeding never evolve beyond the temporary order stage, there is no need to apply the Wexler balancing test because there is a right to the expungement in those situations. Id. Thus, when granting an expungement is a matter of right, it must be granted. See Graham v. Flippen, ___ A.3d. 2018 ___ (Pa. Super. 2018); PA Super 20 (Feb. 2, 2018) (citing Commonwealth v. Charnik, 921 A.2d 1214, 1219 (Pa. Super. 2007).

Final PFA Orders & ICC Convictions - Ineligible

The Superior Court has held that a PFA order, entered after a full hearing and supported by a fair preponderance of the evidence, which is not overturned on appeal, is more analogous to a conviction record and, therefore, is not eligible for an expungement. Commonwealth v. Charnik, 921 A.2d 1214, 1215 (Pa. Super. 2007). It is important to note that in Charnik, the PFA was eventually set aside by court order after the protected victim filed a petition to withdraw the PFA. Likewise, indirect criminal contempt convictions (ICC) relating to violating the PFA order are not eligible for expungement. Id. at 1221.

Therefore, whether a Pennsylvania PFA record is eligible for an expungement will depend on the stage the order was granted and if the order was granted after a full hearing was held. 

Call Now to Speak with an Experienced Pennsylvania PFA Expungement Lawyer

Thanks again for visiting Lampman Law. Please call us at 570-371-3737 if you would like to discuss expunging a PFA record. The call is free of charge and without pressure. We hope to hear from you today. 

2 Public Square, Wilkes-Barre, PA 18701

reception@lampmanlaw.com  |   570-371-3737

Lampman Law practices criminal defense and civil rights in the Counties of: Bradford, Carbon, Clinton, Columbia, Lackawanna, Lehigh, Luzerne, Lycoming, Mifflin, Monroe, Montour, Northampton, Northumberland, Pike, Schuylkill, Snyder, Sullivan, Susquehanna, Union, Wayne, Wyoming. Lampman Law Office is located in Wilkes-Barre, Luzerne County, Pennsylvania.

Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. The information on this site is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. Do not rely on it for accuracy or direction. You should consult an attorney for advice concerning your individual situation because every case is different. Further, contacting us does not create an attorney-client relationship. Do not send confidential information to us until an attorney-client relationship has been established.

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