WHAT IS A SUMMARY OFFENSE?
- A summary offense is the most minor type of criminal offense in Pennsylvania, and is often called a “non-traffic citation.”
- Summary offenses can include disorderly conduct, loitering, harassment, and low-level retail theft, among others.
- A conviction for a summary offense usually results in a fine. You may have never gone to court after getting a summary citation.
CAN A SUMMARY OFFENSE BE EXPUNGED?
- If you were not convicted of the offense, it can be expunged immediately.
- If you were under 18 at the time of the offense and are now over 18, you can get it expunged six months after paying your fine.
- If you were over 18 at the time of the offense, you must have a five-year period where you were never arrested before you can get an expungement. You must also have paid any fines and costs owed on the case.
CAN AN EMPLOYER CONSIDER A SUMMARY OFFENSE?
- A conviction for a summary offense is still considered a criminal conviction, so you should report it if an employer asks whether you have any convictions.
- A summary offense may also appear on your criminal record when an employer runs a background check.
- Employers should NEVER consider summary offenses under Pennsylvania law. If you are rejected from a job because of a summary offense, seek legal help!
WHAT IS THE SUMMARY DIVERSION PROGRAM?
- If you are given a summary citation, you will likely be offered a place in the “Summary Diversion Program.” This program involves paying $200 and taking a class. After completion of the program, your record will be expunged in approximately six months.
- If you cannot afford to pay the $200 and/or you believe you should not have been cited, you have the right to fight your case and ask to go to a trial. If the charges are ultimatley dropped, they can be expunged. If you are convicted, you may be issued a fine higher than $200.
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