Bradford County is located in Northeastern Pennsylvania, and share a border with the state of New York. The county itself has over 61,000 residents within its borders. The Bradford County Court of Common Pleas holds the highest legal authority within the county and settles all legal disputes; criminal and civil. The court itself is located in the city of Towanda, PA, which is the county's seat. When a person seeks to clear criminal records through expungement or record sealing, the Bradford County Common Pleas Court must handle the filing.
Expungement in Bradford County
When a person has an arrest or a criminal record in Bradford County and wishes to petition the court for expungement, they must first meet Pennsylvania's expungement eligibility guidelines. Under Pennsylvania law, the following scenarios allow a person to expunge their record:
- At times, a defendant in a criminal case may be offered the chance to avoid a conviction by participating in an Accelerative Rehabilitative Disposition (ARD) program. Upon completion of this program, the defendant may be eligible for an expungement of their record.
- If a person was convicted of a summary offense, the record of the offense may be expunged after 5 years have passed without any additional criminal proceedings against them.
- If a person is over the age of 70, and at least 10 years have passed without any criminal proceedings against them, they may be eligible for an expungement
- If a person was arrested, but the criminal charges were, for example, dismissed by the Bradford County Court, or withdrawn by the Bradford County District Attorney's Office, these charges will be eligible for expungement; depending on the specific circumstances of the case, charges that were dismissed or withdrawn may instead be eligible for a "redaction," also known as a "partial" expungement.
Record Sealing in Bradford County
Pennsylvania also has a record sealing process for more serious criminal records under its "Limited Access" law. The law allows for individuals who have been convicted of misdemeanor charges to have their records sealed by limiting outside access to them during background checks. Under the Limited Access law, 2nd degree, 3rd degree, and ungraded misdemeanor records are eligible for sealing, with certain restrictions that depend on the situation. In addition, a person seeking record sealing must have served their sentence including probation and/or parole, and 10 years must have passed since the disposition of the case without any additional criminal proceedings.
Juvenile Expungements in Bradford County
Records that are accrued prior to a person's 18th birthday are classified as juvenile records. Many people believe that if they have records prior to turning 18, they will simply be cleared once they come of age. Unfortunately, this common misconception overlooks the truth: these records must be expunged just like adult records. Pennsylvania allows for more lenient standards for expungement when it comes to juvenile records. The requirements for a juvenile expungement in Bradford County, as with all Pennsylvania counties, are:
- Once a person turns 18, they may petition the court for a juvenile expungement; however, the court will review and may not grant the expungement immediately.
- If a person has been arrested as a juvenile, but charges were withdrawn or dismissed, they may be eligible for an expungement.
- If a juvenile was placed under court supervision, once the supervision has concluded and six (6) months have passed without criminal proceedings, the person may request an expungement
- If a person is faced with a juvenile delinquency conviction, also referred to as an "adjudication of delinquency," five (5) years must pass without criminal proceedings and an expungement request may be made.
Clearing Your Criminal Record in Towanda, Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania Expungement Process in Towanda
When expunging a record in Bradford County, whether as an adult, juvenile, or after ARD is complete, or sealing a record in Bradford County, the Bradford County Court of Common Pleas will be where the matter is addressed. The Blair County Court of Common Pleas is located at 301 Main Street, Towanda, PA 18848
The person seeking the expungement or record sealing in Bradford County will be the "petitioner" in the case, and the Bradford County District Attorney's Office will be the "respondent." The Bradford County District Attorney's Office is located in the Bradford County Courthouse; the address is 301 Main Street, Towanda, PA 18848.
The process for an expungement or record sealing in Bradford County will proceed without issue in most instances if the Bradford 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 Towanda, PA, will depend on the specifics of the Bradford 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 Bradford County as comprehensively as possible.
Because the Bradford 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, Bradford County expungement requirements include an original pleading; the District Attorney's Office is served through the Clerk of Court.
Finding the Best Attorney for Bradford County Expungement | Attorney for Bradford County Record Sealing
Expungement and record sealing can be crucial legal maneuvers for persons seeking to avoid employment issues, enter higher education, or hold a professional license. The process itself to pursue the applicable motion can be daunting and confusing for those not well-versed in dealing with the court system. At times, the court's directions may be unclear and failure to follow them exactly can result in having to restart the process. For this reason, expungements may be best handled by an experienced Pennsylvania criminal record expungement attorney; doing so can ensure the expungement process in Bradford County proceeds smoothly.
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 Towanda or Bradford County, contact attorney Joseph D. Lento today.