Bedford County is located in the southern portion of Pennsylvania. The county is home to a number of historical sites and sports a population of over 48,000 residents. Actions of law are overseen by the Bedford County Court of Common Pleas. The court is located in the county seat of Bedford, Pennsylvania. For defendants that wish to seek expungements or record sealing, the court must be petitioned to grant these requests.
Expungements in Bedford County
For a person to motion for an expungement, they must first determine whether or not their situation qualifies for expungement under Pennsylvania law. There are a number of different scenarios that may qualify a defendant for expungement of their arrest or criminal records. These can include:
- If a defendant was convicted on a summary offense, and five (5) years have passed since that conviction without the defendant having any criminal proceedings against them, the record may be eligible for expungement.
- At times, the court may present the defendant with the potential to complete an Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (ARD) program. This program may be completed instead of receiving a criminal conviction. Once the program has concluded, a defendant's record may be expunged.
- If a person is over the age of 70 and over ten (10) years have passed without any criminal convictions against them, they may request expungement of their records.
- If a person was arrested, but the criminal charges were, for example, dismissed by the Bedford County Court, or withdrawn by the Bedford County District Attorney's Office, these charges will be eligible for expungement; in some instances, the appropriate form of relief for charges that were dismissed or withdrawn will be a "redaction," also known as a "partial" expungement.
Sealing Records in Bedford County
If a person has been convicted of a crime, depending on the circumstances, their record may be eligible for sealing after certain requirements have been fulfilled. This process is sometimes referred to as record sealing and is done through Pennsylvania's "limited access" law. In order for a person to be eligible for this, their criminal convictions may not exceed the level of a 2nd-degree misdemeanor. 3rd degree and unclassified/ungraded misdemeanors also qualify. In addition, a period of at least ten years must have passed without any criminal proceedings against the petitioner seeking to have their record sealed.
Expungements for Juveniles in Bedford County
When a person faces criminal charges while they are under the age of 18, they are most likely considered juvenile charges. A popular urban legend suggests that these records will simply disappear once a person turns 18, however, this cannot be further from the truth. Many times, juvenile records can interfere with a person's life years later. Fortunately, Pennsylvania takes a more lenient approach on expungement eligibility for these records. The requirements for juvenile expungement, whether in Bedford County or any Pennsylvania county for that matter, Pennsylvania include:
- If a juvenile arrest or criminal record exists, and the subject is now over the age of 18, they may petition the court for expungement, and the court may approve outright, depending on the situation.
- If a juvenile faced charges, but they were later dismissed, a request for expungement may be made.
- If a juvenile was convicted on juvenile charges, once five (5) years have passed without criminal incident or proceedings, expungement may be requested.
- If a juvenile was placed under supervision, expungement may be requested once six (6) months have passed the conclusion of the supervision has concluded.
Clearing Your Criminal Record in Bedford, Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania Expungement Process in Bedford
When expunging a record in Bedford County, whether as an adult, juvenile, or after ARD is complete, or sealing a record in Bedford County, the Bedford County Court of Common Pleas will be where the matter is addressed. The Bedford County Court of Common Pleas is located on the second floor of the Bedford County Courthouse at 200 South Juliana Street, Bedford, PA 15522.
The person seeking the expungement or record sealing in Bedford County will be the "petitioner" in the case, and the Bedford County District Attorney's Office will be the "respondent." The Bedford County District Attorney's Office is 200 S. Juliana Street, Bedford, PA 15522.
The process for an expungement or record sealing in Bedford County will proceed without issue in most instances if the Bedford 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 Bedford, PA, will depend on the specifics of the Bedford 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 Bedford County as comprehensively as possible.
Because the Bedford 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 Bedford County Clerk of Courts, or "Prothonotary's Office," is unique among Pennsylvania counties when seeking an expungement or record sealing because only one (1) original pleading is required. Most Pennsylvania counties require any various number of copies of pleadings for administrative purposes and "service of process" upon the applicable law enforcement agencies involved in the petitioner's original criminal or juvenile case(s). In addition, the Bedford County Clerk of Courts will forward the pleadings to the Bedford County District Attorney's Office and, when applicable, the Bedford County Probation Department.
Finding the Best Attorney for Bedford County Expungement | Attorney for Bedford County Record Sealing
Record sealing and expungement are essential to those who may have eligible adult or juvenile matters remaining on their criminal records and are seeking professional licensing, employment, or higher education. The process for filing the motions for each method of relief can be exhausting and confusing. Pennsylvania courts will often assume that a petitioner knows the exact process or is under the guidance of an attorney. Failure to follow exact steps may result in having to start the entire process over. For this reason, these motions may be best handled by an experienced Pennsylvania criminal record expungment 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 seeking to clear a criminal record per Pennsylvania law in Bedford County, contact attorney Joseph D. Lento today.