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Pennsylvania Criminal Records

Criminal records in Pennsylvania refer to the official documentation of a person's criminal history.

Municipal, county, and state levels all keep these records, though their precision varies. It means they come from all kinds of criminal courts in the county and state.

When you obtain Pennsylvania Criminal Records, you can typically find information such as the individual's name, birthdate, address, physical description, criminal charges, court rulings, and any sentence imposed. You may also get information about previous or current arrests, convictions, or pending charges.

Pennsylvania maintains these records to support law enforcement and public safety efforts, to aid in the administration of justice, and to provide information in making informed decisions about employment, housing, and other essential matters.

In Pennsylvania, criminal records are public records, meaning anyone can request to view them. The state's Right To Know Law grants the public the right to access and inspect criminal records.

However, some sensitive information, such as juvenile records and certain expunged or sealed records, may not be available to the general public. Furthermore, employers and licensing agencies may be subject to further restrictions on the criminal histories they may access.

What Are the Types of Crimes in Pennsylvania?

Generally, there are many types of crimes in Pennsylvania Criminal Records, such as violent crimes, drug crimes, property crimes, sexual offenses, etc. Depending on their severity, these crimes in the state fall into several categories, which are as follows:

Murder Offenses

Murder is a severe criminal offense in Pennsylvania and is the intentional, deliberate, and unlawful killing of another person. There are various degrees of murder in Pennsylvania, each with its specific elements and punishments.

First-Degree Murder

In Pennsylvania, first-degree murder is a capital crime. It means it carries a punishment of either life in prison or it could also lead to a death sentence for the convicted individual.

Second-Degree Murder

The penalty for second-degree murder, such as murdering an unborn child, is life in prison.

Third-Degree Murder

These offenses include attempted murder, solicitation, or conspiracy to commit murder resulting in severe bodily damage. If someone is found guilty of third-degree murder, 40 years in prison awaits them. If there is no substantial physical harm, the maximum sentence for attempted murder is 20 years.


Pennsylvania felonies are the state's most severe crimes and can result in significant jail time, fines, and other penalties. In Pennsylvania, felony offenses are classified as follows:

First-Degree Felony

The most severe felony offense in Pennsylvania is a first-degree felony. The following crimes fall under this category:

  • Rape
  • Kidnapping
  • Aggravated assault with a deadly weapon
  • Arson endangering persons
  • Theft of property worth $500,000 or more

If you commit any offenses above, it could lead to a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and a $25,000 fine.

Second-Degree Felony

A second-degree felony in Pennsylvania has a $25,000 fine and up to 10 years in prison. Examples of crimes under second-degree felonies in Pennsylvania include:

  • Sexual assault
  • Burglary of a commercial property
  • Homicide of an under-12 victim
  • Statutory sexual assault
  • Aggravated assault without injuries
  • Aggravated indecent assault
  • Property theft between $100,000 and $500,000

Third-Degree Felony

A third-degree felony in Pennsylvania has up to seven years in prison and a $15,000 fine.

Some prevalent third-degree felonies in Pennsylvania include:

  • Bribery
  • Institutional sexual assault of a minor
  • Possession of child pornography
  • Certain gun crimes, such as having a gun without a permit
  • Property theft between $2,000 and $100,000

Ungraded Felony

An ungraded felony is a felony offense that does not fit into any felony categories. Pennsylvania's legislators leave some felony charges ungraded to impose a precise punishment.

For example, possession with intent to deliver is an ungraded felony under the Controlled Substance Act. The maximum sentence ranges from 1 to 15 years, and fines between $5,000 and $250,000, depending on the controlled drug accused.

Apart from the penalties mentioned in each degree, if you have a felony conviction in Pennsylvania, you may be subject to limitations on the following:

  • Contesting for elected office
  • Voting
  • Obtaining college financial aid
  • Getting government benefits
  • Acting as a juror
  • Possessing or owning a weapon (if convicted of a violent crime)


Though less severe than felonies, misdemeanors still carry significant penalties such as prison time and fines. Similar to felonies, misdemeanors go from first-degree to ungraded misdemeanors.

First-Degree Misdemeanor

First-degree misdemeanors in Pennsylvania may lead to a $10,000 fine and a maximum of five years in prison. The most prevalent crimes under this category are as follows:

  • Stalking
  • Simple assault
  • Terroristic threats
  • Multiple DUI offenses
  • Assault of a sports official
  • Property theft ranges from $200 to $2,000

Second-Degree Misdemeanor

If you commit the following misdemeanors of the second degree, it can get you a fine of $5,000 and up to two years in prison:

  • Impersonating a public servant
  • Strangulation
  • Simple assault of an adult
  • Bigamy
  • Shoplifting
  • Property theft ranges from $50 to $200

Third-Degree Misdemeanor

If someone has a third-degree misdemeanor on their Pennsylvania Criminal Records, they mostly have a punishment of a year in prison and a $2,500 fine.

Ungraded Misdemeanor

Same with the ungraded felony, ungraded misdemeanors in Pennsylvania are less serious offenses that do not have a specific penalty associated with them.

Examples of Pennsylvania ungraded misdemeanors are the first offense DUI with the highest alcohol concentration and the possession of a small amount of marijuana.

For the first offense, the maximum penalty is a $5,000 fine and a six-month prison term. The second, on the other hand, might result in a $500 fine and a 30-day jail term.

Summary Offenses

Summary offenses in Pennsylvania are the least serious offenses and are punishable by a maximum sentence of up to three months in jail and a fine of up to $300. However, in most cases, summary offenses result in fines but no jail term.

Common examples of these offenses include disorderly conduct, underage drinking, harassment, loitering, and certain traffic violations.

How Does Probation Work in Pennsylvania?

Probation in Pennsylvania is a form of criminal sentencing that allows the defendant to remain in the community under the supervision of a probation officer. It is a court-imposed sentence that requires a person to comply with specific conditions for a specified period.

Generally, the individual may be subject to the following restrictions:

  • Avoiding certain people or places
  • Curfews
  • Regular check-ins with a probation officer
  • Abstaining from alcohol or drug use
  • Completing specific requirements such as community service or treatment

If the person has violated the conditions outlined in their probation, they may be subject to further sanctions or revocation.

Types of Probation Programs in Pennsylvania

There are five primary forms of probation in Pennsylvania, each with varying terms:

Supervised Probation

This regular probation program requires the offender to communicate with their probation officer weekly or monthly, either in person or via phone.

During their probationary period, they must also adhere to the court's strict requirements, such as taking a drug test, attending counseling, or doing community service, among other conditions. If a probationer breaches the terms of their supervision, the probation officer will send them to prison immediately.

Unsupervised or Non-Reporting Probation

This type of probation is typically for individuals considered to be low-risk and can comply with the conditions of their probation without the need for close supervision.

During this probation, offenders must pay their penalties and refrain from engaging in additional unlawful activity. The court may also impose a suspended prison term, essentially a postponement of the offender's penalty. If the criminal pays their fees and keeps out of trouble while on probation, they may escape the whole term.

Community Control

This program is a kind of probation served outside of prison. It is the harshest kind of probation because of the constant monitoring and home arrest. The offender is confined to their residence and must comply with additional rules.

Shock Program

The Shock Program is a short-term, highly structured program involving intensive incarceration followed by supervised release. Typically, the jail or prison term lasts around 30 days, after which the court will put the offender on a typical supervised probation program to complete the remainder of their sentence.

Intensive Supervision Program

This program involves increased supervision and monitoring, including frequent reporting and mandatory drug testing. It is for individuals deemed at a higher risk of reoffending or needing additional support and structure to complete their probation successfully.

What Is the Pennsylvania Probation Period?

The length of a probation period in Pennsylvania can vary depending on the specific circumstances of the case and the type of probation imposed.

For example, some probation periods may last for several months, while others may last several years. Most of the time, the length of probation is set by the court at the time of sentencing and written down in the person's probation order.

How Does Parole Work in Pennsylvania?

A parole is a person's conditional release from prison before serving their entire sentence.

The Pennsylvania Parole Board oversees the parole process and determines which individuals are eligible for parole.

To be eligible for parole in Pennsylvania, an individual must first meet specific eligibility requirements, such as serving a minimum amount of prison time. If the individual is qualified, they will appear before the parole board for a hearing. At the hearing, the individual will have an opportunity to present evidence of their rehabilitation and explain why they deserve the parole.

Upon release, parolees are typically subject to certain conditions, such as regular reporting to a parole officer, undergoing drug testing, and attending counseling. If parolees violate these conditions, they may be subject to sanctions, such as being returned to prison.

How Does Expungement Work in Pennsylvania?

Expungement in Pennsylvania is sealing or destroying a state criminal record. The process allows individuals to start over with a clean slate, as their criminal records will no longer be accessible to potential employers, landlords, and other entities that conduct background checks.

To have a criminal record expunged in Pennsylvania, the individual must first file a petition for expungement with the court. The petition must explain the reason for seeking expungement and provide details about the record.

Pennsylvania expungement applications may be prepared and submitted within 30 days if your charge qualifies. Once the court approves the order, it may take another 30 days for them to evaluate it before the State Police may clear the record.

Expungement Eligibility Requirements in Pennsylvania

There are eligibility requirements for expungement in Pennsylvania, and generally, it includes the following:

  • The person must have been acquitted, or the charges dropped without prejudice.
  • The individual must have completed all terms of their sentence, including probation and parole.
  • The individual must not have any pending criminal cases or active warrants.
  • The individual must not have committed any offenses after completing their sentence.

It is important to note that not all Pennsylvania Criminal Records are eligible for expungement in the state. You can't delete sex offenses under any circumstances in Pennsylvania.

For most summary offenses, you must wait five years before you can expunge them. Conversely, if the petitioner is not above 70 and has been under supervision over the last ten years, expungement of felony and misdemeanor convictions is impossible. In that case, the sole option to remove a felony or misdemeanor record is with a pardon from the Governor.

Lastly, even if a criminal record is eligible for Pennsylvania expungement, the court may deny the petition if it determines that it is not in the public interest to do so.

How To Obtain a Criminal Record in Pennsylvania?

You can obtain Pennsylvania Criminal Records by visiting the Pennsylvania State Police website. Once there, use the Record Check service page to request a copy of your criminal record or someone else's criminal record.

You can use this system if you have the subject's name, birth date, and Social Security Number. Each name-based search on the website incurs a non-refundable fee. And you can expect to get the search results within 24 hours.

You can also request a criminal record through the mail by submitting a Request for Criminal Record Check form. With this method, a check or money order must accompany the search fee. You must then place the papers in a self-addressed, postage-paid envelope and send them to the Pennsylvania State Police Central Repository.

Lastly, you can visit a Pennsylvania State Police station to request a criminal record check. You will need to bring identification and complete the same form above.

What Are the Criminal Background Check Laws in Pennsylvania?

Several Pennsylvania statutes control criminal background checks for employment purposes. These laws preserve job candidates' privacy and rights while ensuring employers have access to the information necessary to make informed hiring decisions.

Apart from the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), here are some of the primary criminal background check laws in Pennsylvania:

Pennsylvania Criminal History Record Information (CHRI) Act

Under this CHRI act, public and private businesses must only consider felonies and misdemeanors throughout the employment process. They must disregard arrests and court processes for minor charges that did not result in a conviction.

Pennsylvania Fair-Chance Hiring Human Resources Policy (Ban the Box)

Pennsylvania has adopted the ban-the-box policy, prohibiting employers from asking about applicants' criminal histories on initial job applications. It lets candidates compete for the job on their qualifications and skills before their criminal history is examined.

It is important to note that some municipalities and counties in Pennsylvania have enacted local fair hiring laws that further limit background check practices in their jurisdictions.


Counties in Pennsylvania

Police Departments and Sheriffe Office in Pennsylvania

Philadelphia Sheriff's Office100 South Broad Street, Philadelphia, PA
Allegheny County Sheriff's Office436 Grant Street, Pittsburgh, PA
Montgomery County Sheriff's Office2 East Airy Street, Norristown, PA
Bucks County Sheriff's Office100 N Main Street, Doylestown, PA
Delaware County Sheriff's Office201 W. Front Street, Media, PA
Lancaster County Sheriff's Office50 N Duke Street, Lancaster, PA
Chester County Sheriff's Office201 W Market Street, Suite 1201, West Chester, PA
York County Sheriff's Office45 N. George Street, York, PA
Berks County Sheriff's Office633 Court Street, 3rd Floor, Reading, PA
Westmoreland County Sheriff's Office2 N Main Street, Greensburg, PA