Adams County is located in the southern portion of Pennsylvania. The historic county is home to over 102,000 residents, as well as the famous Civil War landmark, the Gettysburg National Military Park. The county is served in all legal matters by the Adams County Court of Common Pleas, which is located in historic Gettysburg, PA. Both higher-level criminal and civil legal disputes are handled in this court. For defendants seeking relief in the form of expungement or record sealing, the Adams County Court of Common Pleas must be appropriately petitioned.
Adams County Expungements
If a person wishes to file for an expungement of an arrest record, criminal record, or a summary offense, they must first meet Pennsylvania's expungement eligibility requirements. A person is eligible for expungement if they were arrested for a crime, but the charges were withdrawn or dismissed. Depending on the circumstances of the case, withdrawn or dismissed charges may instead be eligible for a "partial" expungement; also known as a "redaction." Additionally, sometimes the court may have a defendant complete an Accelerative Rehabilitative Disposition (ARD) program in lieu of suffering a conviction. This program must be completed in order to be eligible for relief.
Pennsylvania also provides a few other specific avenues in which a person may be eligible for expungement relief. The first of which is if a defendant was convicted of a summary offense:
- If five (5) years have passed, and no criminal activity has been recorded against them since the conviction may be expunged.
- Another avenue for Pennsylvania expungement relief is in cases where a defendant is over 70 years old and more than ten (10) years have passed since any criminal proceedings have been levied against them, their conviction may be expunged.
Record Sealing in Adams County
Pennsylvania also offers a "Limited Access" method for post-conviction relief. This method effectively limits the public access to criminal records. Although Pennsylvania's Limited Access law allows certain law enforcement and government organizations to access these records on background checks upon request, the public, which includes most employers and other institutions, will have no access to the person's criminal record once sealed. Eligibility for this method of relief must take place ten (10) years after a misdemeanor charge, and the petitioner must not have had any criminal proceedings against them for that time period. Second and third-degree misdemeanors, along with unclassified/ungraded misdemeanor charges, with limited exceptions, are eligible for this process.
Juvenile Expungements in Adams County
When a person under the age of 18 faces criminal charges, Pennsylvania law is more lenient regarding expungement eligibility. The requirements for juvenile record expungement in Adams County, and throughout Pennsylvania for that matter, are:
- The court approves a person's petition for expungement after they turn 18.
- 5 years have passed since a juvenile conviction without any criminal proceedings.
- Juvenile supervision has been completed, and six (6) months have passed without criminal proceedings.
- The juvenile charges were dismissed by the court.
Clearing Your Criminal Record in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania Expungement Process in Gettysburg
When expunging a criminal record in Adams County, whether as an adult, juvenile, or after ARD is complete, or sealing a criminal record in Adams County, the Adams County Court of Common Pleas will be where the matter is addressed. The Adams County Court of Common Pleas is located at 111 Baltimore Street, Gettysburg, PA 17325.
The person seeking the expungement or criminal record sealing in Adams County will be the "petitioner" in the case, and the Adams County District Attorney's Office will be the "respondent." The County of Adams District Attorney's Office is located in the Adams County Court House; the address is, as above, 111 Baltimore Street, Room 6, Gettysburg, PA 17325.
The process for an expungement or criminal record sealing in Adams County will proceed without issue in most instances if the Adams 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 Gettysburg, PA, will depend on the specifics of the Adams 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 Adams County as comprehensively as possible.
Because the Adams 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, the Adams County Clerk of Courts requires one (1) original pleading, unlike most Pennsylvania counties, with the petitioning party being responsible for serving the Adams County District Attorney's Office.
Adams County charges expungement fees that depend on whether the case is currently filed at the court. The entire process may take up to six (6) months.
Finding the Best Attorney for Adams County Expungement | Attorney for Adams County Record Sealing
The process of seeking expungement or record sealing can be frustrating and complex, especially for someone who does not have experience with the legal system. Many times, if steps are not followed exactly to the court's directions, a person may wind up having to start over or may end up ineligible for relief at all. In addition, expungement and criminal record sealing are particularly important for people seeking to avoid employment issues, those who have professional licenses that may be at stake, and students wanting to enter or continue with higher education. With much at potential stake, it may be helpful to retain the services of an experienced Pennsylvania criminal record expungement attorney to assist with obtaining relief.
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 Gettysburg or Adams County, PA, contact attorney Joseph D. Lento today.