Monroe County is on the eastern border of Pennsylvania, sharing boundaries with the state of New Jersey. The county has over 166,000 residents within its multiple townships and boroughs and also houses East Stroudsburg University. The county's highest legal authority is the Monroe County Court of Common Pleas. The court is responsible for both resolving matters of legal disputes within the county, and also for maintaining records of criminal charges that occur within the county. When a person seeks to clear their name, they must conduct a filing for an expungement or for the sealing of their records at this very court.
Expungement in Monroe County
When a person wishes to file an expungement within Monroe County, they must first qualify for one under Pennsylvania's state guidelines for expungement eligibility. Pennsylvania presents petitioners with strict circumstances under which a person may expunge their records. These circumstances include:
- A person was offered a chance to participate in an Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (ARD) program and has completed the program.
- A person is over the age of 70 years old, and over ten (10) years have passed without additional criminal matters against them.
- A person was convicted on a summary offense, has fulfilled their sentence to completion, and at least five (5) years have passed without further criminal matters against them.
- If a person was arrested, but the criminal charges were, for example, dismissed by the Monroe County Court, or withdrawn by the Monroe County District Attorney's Office, these charges may be eligible for expungement; in some instances, however, a "partial" expungement," also known as a "redaction," may instead be the appropriate form of relief for charges that were dismissed or withdrawn.
Juvenile Expungement in Monroe County
When a person faces criminal charges when they are under the age of 18, these are considered to be juvenile offenses, and these charges create juvenile records. Many individuals live under the false belief that these records will "expire" or "disappear" after a person's 18th birthday, however, the truth of the matter is that these records will continue to exist after a person attains legal adulthood. In order to expunge a juvenile record, a person must qualify under state guidelines. Pennsylvania's guidelines for juvenile expungement are:
- A person that was convicted on a juvenile offense, has completed their sentence and has fulfilled a waiting period of at least five (5) years without additional criminal matters.
- A person was placed under court supervision, has completed their supervision, and has fulfilled the waiting period of at least six (6) months without additional criminal matters.
- A person was arrested on juvenile charges, but the charges were later dismissed or withdrawn.
- A person is over the age of 18, and petitions the court for an expungement, and the court is convinced through their petition to allow for the expungement.
Sealing Records in Monroe County
For more serious criminal records, a separate process is used for clearing one's name. This process is known as record sealing and relies on the usage of Pennsylvania's "Limited Access" laws. When the filing of this motion is done, a person's records are prevented access during certain background checks, effectively sealing their records. This process may only be used for 2nd degree, 3rd degree, and ungraded misdemeanor offenses. A person must also have fulfilled a ten (10) year waiting period without additional criminal matters levied against them.
Clearing Your Criminal Record in Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania Expungement Process in Stroudsburg
When expunging a criminal record in Monroe County, whether as an adult, juvenile, or after ARD is complete or sealing a criminal record in Monroe County, the Monroe County Court of Common Pleas will be where the matter is addressed. The Monroe County Court of Common Pleas is located at 610 Monroe Street, Stroudsburg, PA 18360.
The person seeking the expungement or criminal record sealing in Monroe County will be the "petitioner" in the case, and the Monroe County District Attorney's Office will be the "respondent." The Monroe County District Attorney's Office is located on the second floor of the Dauphin County Courthouse; the address 610 Monroe Street, Suite 126, Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania 18360.
The process for an expungement or criminal record sealing in Monroe County will proceed without issue in most instances if the Monroe 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 Stroudsburg, PA, will depend on the specifics of the Monroe 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 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 Monroe County as comprehensively as possible.
Because the Monroe County Court will most often decide a request for an expungement or record sealing "on the pleadings," meaning that judgment will be made on 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. In addition, Monroe County has more unique procedural requirements than most Pennsylvania counties. The petitioning party should note that the Monroe County Clerk of Courts requires one (1) original pleading and three (3) copies. Like most Pennsylvania counties, the petitioning party must serve the Dauphin County District Attorney's Office.
Finding the Best Attorney for Monroe County Expungement | Attorney for Monroe County Record Sealing
Expungement and record sealing are incredibly important motions to pursue individuals who are seeking to enter higher education, hold a professional license, or avoid employment issues. Filing these motions, however, can prove a daunting task at times, as courts seldom provide sufficient information for a person to file correctly the first time. Errors in the process can cause unnecessary and bothersome delays. To reduce the likelihood of this occurring, it may be best to have these matters handled by an attorney; in particular, an experienced Pennsylvania expungement attorney
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 in need of an expungement motion in Stroudsburg or Monroe County, PA, contact attorney Joseph D. Lento today.