Armstrong County is located in Western Pennsylvania and was formed from portions of Allegheny, Westmoreland and Lycoming Counties. The county supports a population of over 67,000 residents. The county is served in matters of law by the Armstrong County Court of Common Pleas, which is located in the county seat of Kittanning, PA. All legal disputes, both criminal and civil, will be resolved in this court. When a person seeks to have their criminal record expunged, they must petition this court according to its guidelines established by Pennsylvania expungement law.
Armstrong County Expungements
When a person seeks to expunge their criminal or arrest records in Armstrong County, they must first meet the Pennsylvania's requirements for expungement. There are several methods in which a defendant may obtain eligibility for expungement in Armstrong County. These include:
- A defendant may sometimes avoid a conviction by participating in an ARD (Accelerative Rehabilitative Disposition) program. This program must be completed in order for a defendant to be eligible for expungement.
- If a defendant was convicted of a summary offense, the record may be expunged after five (5) years have passed without any criminal proceedings against them.
- Defendants may also expunge their record if they are at least 70 years of age, and ten (10) years have passed since any criminal proceedings have been levied against them.
- If a person was arrested, but the criminal charges were, for example, dismissed by the Armstrong County Court, or withdrawn by the Armstrong County District Attorney's Office, these charges may be eligible for expungement; in some instances, withdrawn or dismissed charges may instead be eligible for a "redaction," which is also known as a "partial" expungement.
Record Sealing in Armstrong County
If a defendant has been convicted of a crime, Pennsylvania law allows for a form of record sealing under its "Limited Access" law. This method effectively limits public access to a person's criminal records, sealing them from background checks. In order to be eligible for record sealing through Pennsylvania's Limited Access law, ten (10) years must have passed since the conclusion of the defendant's sentencing, including any probation and/or parole, without any criminal proceedings. In addition, only 2nd degree, 3rd degree, and unclassified/ungraded misdemeanor charges are eligible for record sealing in Armstrong County, or any Pennsylvania county for that matter.
Juvenile Expungements in Armstrong County
When a person faces criminal charges while they are under the age of 18, these records may be eligible for juvenile expungement procedures. The eligibility requirements for expunging juvenile records in Pennsylvania are somewhat more lenient than those used for adult records. This is the case in Armstrong County and also throughout Pennsylvania. Contrary to popular belief, juvenile records are not "cleared" upon a person's 18th birthday. In order to expunge a juvenile record in Pennsylvania, one of the following situations must apply:
- The court approves an adult's request to expunge a juvenile record after the defendant has turned 18.
- Juvenile supervision has concluded, and 6 months have passed without any additional criminal proceedings.
- A person was convicted of a juvenile delinquency offense, and five (5) years have passed since the conviction without any additional criminal proceedings.
- The juvenile charges have been dismissed.
Clearing Your Criminal Record in Kittanning, Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania Expungement Process in Kittanning
When expunging a record in Armstrong County, whether as an adult, juvenile, or after ARD is complete or sealing a record in Armstrong County, the Armstrong County Court of Common Pleas will be where the matter is addressed. The Armstrong County Court of Common Pleas is located at 500 Market Street, Kittanning, PA 16201.
The person seeking the expungement or record sealing in Armstrong County will be the "petitioner" in the case, and the Armstrong County District Attorney's Office will be the "respondent." The Armstrong County District Attorney's Office is located at Armstrong County Courthouse; the address is 500 E. Market Street, 3rd Floor, Suite 323, Kittanning PA 16201.
The process for an expungement or record sealing in Armstrong County will proceed without issue in most instances if the Armstrong 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 Kittanning, PA, will depend on the specifics of the Armstrong 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 Armstrong County as comprehensively as possible.
Because the Armstrong 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 Armstrong County Clerk of Courts, or the "Prothonotary's Office," requires one (1) original pleading unlike most Pennsylvania counties, with the petitioning party being responsible for serving the Armstrong County District Attorney's Office.
Finding the Best Attorney for Armstrong County Expungement | Attorney for Armstrong County Record Sealing
The expungement process in Armstrong County can be difficult and frustrating for defendants who simply want to clear their records per Pennsylvania law. Convictions and arrest records can have long-lasting effects on a person's reputation, especially for students applying to colleges, or workforce professionals; including those who must hold a professional license. Expungement processes can be complex and require various steps to complete. In addition, if there is a misstep in the process, the court may require a defendant to start again from the beginning. For this reason, it may be helpful to retain the services of a Pennsylvania attorney experienced in handling the criminal record expungement 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 expungement or criminal record sealing in Kittanning or Armstrong County, PA, contact attorney Joseph D. Lento today.