Allegheny County is Pennsylvania's second-most populous county, behind Philadelphia County. The county is home to city of Pittsburgh and over 1.2 million residents across all its municipalities. The county is served in all legal matters by the Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas located in Pittsburgh, PA. When a person has been arrested or convicted of a crime, one of the avenues available to them is to seek post-trial or post-conviction relief from the court. The Court makes available expungements and a criminal record sealing process to those looking to clear their records, or seal their records when applicable. The appropriate form of relief depends on the case itself.
Allegheny County Expungement Process
When determining which method for conviction relief is appropriate, one must first determine if they are eligible for an expungement per Pennsylvania law. Most often, expungements are available to defendants who have been arrested, but the charges were either withdrawn or dismissed. In some instances, a "redaction," also known as a "partial" expungement, may be the appropriate form of relief for charges that were withdrawn or dismissed. Alternatively, the defendant may complete an ARD (Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition) program in lieu of having a conviction on their record, and the arrest record may be expunged upon successful completion of all ARD requirements.
Also, Pennsylvania law provides the possibility of expungement of a criminal record for the following circumstances:
- A person is over the age of 70, and ten (10) years have passed since any criminal proceedings have been levied against them.
- A person has been convicted of a summary offense, and five (5) years have passed since the conviction.
Record Sealing in Allegheny County
Pennsylvania also offers a method of sealing one's criminal or arrest records through the state's new "Limited Access" law. For a majority of misdemeanor records, the law significantly reduces the accessibility of the conviction records. This effectively seals the record from background check or public access. In order to be eligible for criminal record sealing, a person must have completed their sentence, if necessary and applicable, and have gone a period of ten (10) years since the completion of their sentence without any criminal proceedings against them.
Juvenile Expungement in Allegheny County
When a person has criminal or arrest records from prior to their 18th birthday, these are known as "juvenile records." Many believe that upon turning 18, these records will either no longer matter or will simply automatically be cleared or sealed. This is, unfortunately untrue, and these records must be expunged if a person seeks to avoid potential future complications from juvenile records. It is fortunate, however, that Pennsylvania laws allow for somewhat more lenient requirements for expungement, which include:
- If a person is over the age of 18, and the court approves their petition for expungement.
- A person was charged with a juvenile crime, but the charges were dismissed or withdrawn.
- A person was placed under court supervision, the supervision has concluded, and six (6) months have passed without any criminal proceedings against them.
- A person was convicted of a juvenile offense, they have fulfilled their sentence, and at least five (5) years have passed since they faced any criminal charges.
Clearing Your Criminal Record in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania Expungement Process in Pittsburgh
When expunging a criminal record in Allegheny County, whether as an adult, juvenile, or after ARD is complete, or sealing a criminal record in Allegheny County, the Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas is where the matter will be addressed. The Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas is located at 436 Grant Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15219.
The person seeking the expungement or criminal record sealing in Allegheny County will be the "petitioner" in the case, and the Allegheny County District Attorney's Office will be the "respondent." The Allegheny County District Attorney's Office is located at in the Allegheny County Courthouse; the address, as above, is 436 Grant St, Pittsburgh, PA 15219.
The process for an expungement or criminal record sealing in Allegheny County will proceed without issue in most instances if the Allegheny 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 Pittsburgh, PA, will depend on the specifics of the Allegheny 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 Allegheny County as comprehensively as possible
Because the Allegheny 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 Allegheny County Clerk of Courts requires one (1) original pleading and two (2) copies. The Allegheny County Clerk of Courts, unlike most Pennsylvania counties, also requests that the criminal "docket" sheets related to the underlying criminal case also be included with the pleadings.
Finding the Best Attorney for Allegheny County Expungement | Attorney for Allegheny County Record Sealing
Allegheny County motions for expungements and criminal record sealing must be filed with the Court. The Court states that the entire process can potentially take up to one (1) year to complete. The filing of a request can be a daunting process in of itself for those who are unfamiliar with the workings of the Court. At times, an error in the filing process may mean starting over completely. Clearing records can be incredibly important for those who work in certain fields that require professional licenses, such as medicine, nursing, education, and so forth. For those seeking to clear their records, it may be helpful to retain the services of an experienced Pennsylvania criminal record expungement attorney when attempting to handle the expungement or record sealing process.
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 record sealing in Pittsburgh or Allegheny County, PA, contact attorney Joseph D. Lento today.