Bucks County is one of several counties neighboring Philadelphia, and is home to over 600,000 residents. The Bucks County Court of Common Pleas oversees all matters of law within the county, both criminal and civil. The court itself is located in Doylestown, PA, the seat of the county. The Court is divided into criminal and civil branches, with judges assigned to each branch. When a person wishes to have a criminal record, expunged in Bucks County, be it a conviction or an arrest record, they must submit a motion to the court.
Expungement Process in Bucks County, PA
The first step to expungement is determining if a person is eligible for expungement at all. Under Pennsylvania Law, a person may request expungement depending on the outcome of their case. If a person has been arrested, but not convicted of a crime, they may apply for an expungement of the arrest record.
If A Person Has Been Convicted Of A Crime in Bucks County
When a person has been convicted of a crime and they seek expungement in Bucks County, they must first determine the proper avenue for expungement of their record. This will depend on the offense itself. Some criminal offenses will be allowed by the Bucks County District Attorney's Office to be resolved by way of an "ARD" program, or Accelerative Rehabilitative Disposition program. The goal is to provide a rehabilitative measure that the defendant must complete prior to their eligibility for expungement, in place of suffering a criminal conviction on their record.
Pennsylvania's standard requirements for expungement when a defendant has been convicted of a crime are if one of the following circumstances has been met:
- The conviction was for a low-level or summary offense and five (5) years have passed since the person requesting expungement has faced any criminal charges.
- The person requesting expungement is at least 70 years old and ten (10) or more years have passed since any criminal proceedings have been brought against them.
Record Sealing in Bucks County, PA
Pennsylvania also allows for the sealing of criminal records through its "Limited Access" law which went into effect in November 2016. This law allows most 2nd degree, 3rd degree, and unranked/ungraded misdemeanor offenses to be sealed by limiting public access to these records. In order to be eligible for this process, a person must have completed their sentencing, and ten (10) years must have passed without any criminal proceedings against them. Once this period has passed, then a person may petition the court for record sealing.
Bucks County Juvenile Expungements
If a person faces criminal charges while under the age of 18, they are likely eligible for expungement once the juvenile delinquency process has concluded. Pennsylvania law allows eligibility for juvenile record expungement under the following circumstances:
- A juvenile was arrested, but the charges have been dismissed or withdrawn.
- Six (6) months have passed since juvenile supervision has ceased without any criminal proceedings.
- At least five (5) years have passed since a juvenile delinquency conviction without criminal proceedings.
- A juvenile ages over 18 and the State of Pennsylvania (through the applicable District Attorney's Office) consents to the expungement when petitioned.
Clearing Your Criminal Record in Doylestown, Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania Expungement Process in Doylestown
When expunging a criminal record in Bucks County, whether as an adult, juvenile, or after ARD is complete or sealing a criminal record in Bucks County, the Bucks County Court of Common Pleas will be where the matter is addressed. The Bucks County Court of Common Pleas is located at the Bucks County Justice Center; the address is 100 North Main Street, Doylestown, PA 18901.
The person seeking the expungement or criminal record sealing in Bucks County will be the "petitioner" in the case, and the Bucks County District Attorney's Office will be the "respondent." The Bucks County District Attorney's Office is in the Bucks County Justice Center; the address, as above, is 100 North Main Street, Doylestown, PA 18901.
The process for an expungement or record sealing in Bucks County will proceed without issue in most instances if the Bucks 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 Doylestown, PA, will depend on the specifics of the Bucks 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 Bucks County as comprehensively as possible.
Because the Bucks 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 Bucks County Clerk of Courts requires one (1) original pleading and one (1) copy, with the petitioning party being responsible for serving the Bucks County District Attorney's Office.
Finding the Best Attorney for Bucks County Expungement | Attorney for Bucks County Record Sealing
When requesting an expungement in Bucks County, the process can be confusing, as each county has variances in procedure for how a motion for expungement may be filed, regardless of the overall requirement remaining the same throughout the state. In Bucks County the filing must be done through the county's filing service. When filing for an expungement in Bucks county, it may be helpful to seek the services an experienced Pennsylvania criminal record expungement attorney to ease and simplify the 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 Doylestown or Bucks County, PA, contact attorney Joseph D. Lento today.