Clarion County is located in the northwestern region of Pennsylvania. The county is home to over 39,000 residents. The Clarion County Court of Common Pleas serves the residents of the county in all matters of law. The court is located in the county seat of Clarion, PA. When a person has prior arrests or criminal records within the county and needs to clear their record, they must petition this court. The court is responsible for both holding the records and granting the requests for expungement or record sealing.
Clarion County Expungements
When a person has a prior arrest or criminal records that they seek to expunge, they must first determine whether or not they are eligible under the state's guidelines. Pennsylvania has somewhat strict guidelines for expungement eligibility. When a person wishes to file for expungement in Clarion County, they must meet one of the following situations:
- If a person is over the age of 70, and more than ten (10) years have passed since they have faced any criminal proceedings, they may be eligible for an expungement.
- If a person was convicted on a summary offense, their sentence has been served, and they have not faced any criminal proceedings for at least five (5) years' time, they may be eligible to have this conviction expunged.
- If a person was offered an Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (ARD) program instead of a criminal conviction, and the program has been completed, the person may have their records expunged.
- If a person was arrested, but the criminal charges were, for example, dismissed by the Clarion County Court, or withdrawn by the Clarion County District Attorney's Office, these charges may be eligible for expungement; in some instances, if charges are dismissed or withdrawn, a "partial" expungement, also known as a "redaction," will be the appropriate form of relief depending on the circumstances of the case.
Clarion County Record Sealing
When a person seeks to expunge a misdemeanor offense, it must be done through Pennsylvania's "Limited Access" laws. These laws allow a person to limit access to their criminal records during background checks, effectively sealing the records. If a person has a 3rd degree, 2nd degree, or ungraded misdemeanor record, it may be eligible for expungement. There are certain exceptions to this rule, however, a majority of these offenses are eligible. In addition, a person must also not have had any criminal proceedings against them for at least ten (10) years.
Clarion County Juvenile Expungements
If a person has arrests or criminal records prior to their 18th birthday, these are referred to as "juvenile records." People often mistakenly believe that juvenile records will simply vanish upon a person's 18th birthday. This could not be further from the truth, however. Juvenile records can interfere with a person's goals long after they have come of age. Thankfully, Pennsylvania allows expungement on these juvenile records through the following circumstances:
- A person has turned 18, and the court has approved their petition to expunge the record.
- A person faced juvenile charges, but the charges were later withdrawn or dismissed.
- A person was placed under court supervision, the supervision has concluded, and six (6) months have passed without the person facing criminal charges.
- A person was convicted on a juvenile offense, their sentencing has been completed, and five (5) years have passed since without facing any criminal charges.
Clearing Your Criminal Record in Clarion, Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania Expungement Process in Clarion
When expunging a criminal record in Clarion County, PA, whether as an adult, juvenile, or after ARD is complete, or sealing a criminal record in Clarion County, the Clarion County Court of Common Pleas will be where the matter is addressed. The Clarion County Court of Common Pleas is located at 421 Main Street, Clarion, PA 16214
The person seeking the expungement or criminal record sealing in Clarion County will be the "petitioner" in the case, and the Clarion County District Attorney's Office will be the "respondent." The Clarion County District Attorney's Office is located at 502 Liberty Street, Clarion, PA 16214.
The process for an expungement or criminal record sealing in Clarion County will proceed without issue in most instances if the Clarion 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 Clarion, PA, will depend on the specifics of the Clarion 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 Clarion County as comprehensively as possible.
Because the Clarion 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 Clarion County Clerk of Courts requires one (1) original pleading. Although the Clerk of Courts will serve the District Attorney's Office, it is good practice in Clarion County for the petitioning party to also serve the District Attorney's Office. The Clerk of Courts also will provide the petitioning party with a time-stamped copy of the pleadings if properly requested.
Finding the Best Attorney for Clarion County Expungement | Attorney for Clarion County Record Sealing
The process for expunging former arrest records and criminal records can be complex and frustrating. Obtaining an expungement or record sealing is of crucial importance for, among others, people seeking to avoid employment issues, students seeking to enter or continue with higher education, and professionals who must hold a professional license in order to continue their practice. Failure to follow the court's guidelines for expungement or record sealing can lead to frustration and delays in obtaining the expungement or record sealing. For this reason, these matters may be best left to an experienced Pennsylvania expungement 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 an expungement or record sealing in Clarion County, contact attorney Joseph D. Lento today.