Franklin County is located in South Central Pennsylvania, sharing a border with the state of Maryland. The county has over 153,000 residents within its townships and cities. The county seat is located in Chambersburg, PA. The highest legal authority within the county is the Franklin Count Court of Common Pleas. The court is responsible for ensuring that legal disputes, both criminal and civil, are resolved, and also maintaining records for legal actions within the county. If a person has criminal or arrest records within the county, they must petition this court for their expungement.
Franklin County Expungements
When a person seeks to expunge a record within Franklin County, they must first ensure that they are within the eligibility requirements of the state of Pennsylvania. Pennsylvania law provides a limited number of circumstances in which a person may request an expungement. These circumstances include the following:
- If a person was arrested, but the criminal charges were, for example, dismissed by the Franklin County Court, or withdrawn by the Franklin County District Attorney's Office, these charges will be eligible for expungement; in some instances, the appropriate form of relief for charges that were dismissed or withdrawn will be a "partial" expungement, also known as a "redaction."
- A person that is over the age of 70 and has not faced any criminal proceedings for over ten (10) years may petition for an expungement.
- A person that was able to participate in an Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition program in lieu of facing a criminal conviction will be eligible for a motion to expunge the record following the program's completion.
- A person who was convicted on a summary offense will be eligible for an expungement following the completion of their sentence, and once five (5) years without criminal proceedings.
Franklin County Expungements for Juveniles
When a person has records that exist from before they were legally considered an adult, they are often classified as juvenile records. A popular belief suggests that these records will simply be "cleared" upon a person's 18th birthday, however, these records will actually continue to be held in the county, potentially interfering with a person's goals. If a person wishes to expunge a juvenile record, Pennsylvania offers a wider avenue for a person to meet the state's eligibility guidelines. The guidelines for eligibility include:
- When a person turns 18, they may simply request an expungement of a juvenile record outright, however, the court will have to approve the request after consideration.
- If a person has been placed under court supervision, following six (6) months after the supervision's conclusion they may request an expungement of their juvenile records.
- If a person was convicted on a juvenile delinquency offense, five (5) years must pass without criminal proceedings, and any relevant sentencing must also be completed before a person may make an expungement request.
- If a person was arrested on a juvenile charge, but the charges were later withdrawn or dismissed, they may request an expungement immediately, provided no additional criminal proceedings are going on.
Record Sealing in Franklin County
Pennsylvania law allows for a person to seal records of more serious misdemeanor offenses. This process is done through the state's "Limited Access" laws, which will prevent these records from coming up during background checks under most circumstances. A person's ungraded, 2nd degree and 3rd-degree misdemeanors may be sealed under this process, however, their sentence must have been completed and at least ten (10) years must have passed without any criminal proceedings. In addition, there are specific misdemeanor offenses which are specifically precluded from being sealed, although this is by far the exception and not the rule.
Clearing Your Criminal Record in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania Expungement Process in Chambersburg
When expunging a record in Franklin County, whether as an adult, juvenile, or after ARD is complete or sealing a record in Franklin County, the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas will be where the matter is addressed. The Franklin County Court of Common Pleas is located at 2 N. Main Street, Chambersburg, PA 17201.
The person seeking the expungement or record sealing in Franklin County will be the "petitioner" in the case, and the Franklin County District Attorney's Office will be the "respondent." The Franklin County District Attorney's Office is located at 157 Lincoln Way E, Chambersburg, PA 17201.
The process for an expungement or record sealing in Franklin County will proceed without issue in most instances if the Franklin County District Attorney's Office does not object to the expungement petition or limited access petition pursuant to Pennsylvania Rules of Criminal Procedure. The specific Pennsylvania expungement or limited access law which will apply to the request for relief filed in Chambersburg, PA, will depend on the specifics of the Fayette County criminal case itself: either Pa.R.Crim.P. 490 for summary offense expungements; Pa.R.Crim.P. 790 for standard criminal record expungements; Pa.R.Crim.P. 791 and 18 Pa.C.S. § 9122.1 in cases involving criminal record sealing; or 18 Pa.C.S. § 9123 in cases involving juvenile records. In some instances, requesting relief based upon a combination of these Rules is sometimes required to clear a Pennsylvania criminal record in Fayette County as comprehensively as possible.
Because the Franklin County Court will most often decide a request for an expungement or record sealing "on the pleadings," meaning that judgment will be made based upon a proper petition, order, and related pleadings, persons seeking to clear their record per Pennsylvania law must make sure that their request is properly handled in all respects, and to an exacting degree. The Franklin County Clerk of Courts, or "Prothonotary's Office," is unique in some respects among Pennsylvania counties when seeking an expungement or record sealing. Like many Pennsylvania counties, an original pleading and a specified number of copies are required when filing. In Franklin County, however, the original pleading must be signed in blue ink. Franklin County also specifically notes that each copy of the pleadings must also have three (3) proposed orders (although including a proposed order as part of any copies of the pleading is standard practice throughout Pennsylvania).
Finding the Best Attorney for Franklin County Expungement | Attorney for Franklin County Record Sealing
Juvenile and adult criminal or arrest records can cause a person serious difficulties when they are entering higher education or maintain a professional license. Criminal and arrest records can also cause unexpected employment issues. Considering how much can be at stake, it is unfortunate that when attempting to file for an expungement or sealing within Franklin County, a person is likely to receive marginal assistance and direction from the court, and may need to figure out the process themselves. In addition, missteps in the process can lead to delays, if not an outright denial of the request for relief. For these reasons, it may be best to have these motions handled by an attorney to reduce the potential for delays and frustration; an experienced Pennsylvania expungement attorney can help.
Attorney Joseph D. Lento has a proven record of success helping clients with clearing their records throughout Pennsylvania, and as importantly, he personally handles all clients' expungements and record sealings from start to finish. If you or a loved one is seeking an expungement or criminal record sealing in Chambersburg or Franklin County, PA contact attorney Joseph D. Lento today.