Clearfield County is a neighbor to Centre County, and is located near the middle of Pennsylvania. The county is home to over 80,000 residents. Any legal disputes within the county will be ruled on by the Clearfield County Court of Common Pleas. The court is located in the city of Clearfield, PA. Individuals who seek to have prior records within the county expunged or sealed must petition this court for these motions for relief.
Expungements in Clearfield County
Before a person may petition the Clearfield County Court for an expungement of their prior records, they must be eligible for expungement through the state's laws. Pennsylvania has a narrow set of circumstances that determines whether or not a person's records may be eligible for expungement. These include:
- When a person has been convicted of a summary offense, and at least five (5) years have passed since they have completed their sentence without any additional criminal proceedings, they may be eligible for expungement.
- If a person was offered the chance to participate in an Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (ARD) program in lieu of a criminal conviction, their records may be eligible for expungement upon completion of the program.
- If a person is over the age of 70, and at least ten (10) years have passed without any criminal proceedings against them, their prior records may be eligible for expungement.
- If a person was arrested, but the criminal charges were, for example, dismissed by the Clearfield County Court, or withdrawn by the Clearfield County District Attorney's Office, these charges may be eligible for expungement; in some instances, a "partial" expungement, also known as a "redaction," may be the appropriate form or relief for charges that were dismissed or withdrawn.
Record Sealing in Clearfield County
Pennsylvania also allows for more serious records to be sealed through its "Limited Access" laws. These laws prevent access to certain misdemeanor-level records during background checks. This effectively seals the criminal record. Only misdemeanor records at the 3rd degree, 2nd degree, or ungraded levels may be sealed under Pennsylvania's Limited Access law, with some exceptions. Also, in order for a person to be eligible to have their records sealed, they must not have had any criminal proceedings against them for at least ten (10) years time, and conditions of their sentence, such as fines and costs, must be satisfied.
Juvenile Records in Clearfield County
If a person has criminal or arrest records that were generated prior to their 18th birthday, they will be considered juvenile records. While the myth of these records simply disappearing after a person turns 18 continues to be propagated, it is important to know that these records must be expunged, lest they continue to interfere with a person's goals in life; educational or employment goals for example. Juvenile records may be eligible for expungement in Clearfield County, and throughout Pennsylvania, under the following conditions:
- If a person is over the of 18, they may petition the court for an expungement, however, the court must approve of this petition, and it will depend heavily on the circumstances.
- If a person was placed under court supervision, they will be eligible for expungement once the supervision has concluded and at least six (6) months have passed without any criminal proceedings.
- If a person was convicted on juvenile delinquency charges, they will be eligible for expungement once they have completed any sentencing and at least five (5) years have passed without any additional criminal proceedings against them.
- If a person has faced juvenile charges, but the charges were later dismissed or withdrawn, they may be eligible for expungement.
Clearing Your Criminal Record in Clearfield, Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania Expungement Process in Clearfield
When expunging a criminal record in Clearfield County, PA, whether as an adult, juvenile, or after ARD is complete, or sealing a criminal record in Clearfield County, the Clearfield County Court of Common Pleas will be where the matter is addressed. The Clearfield County Court of Common Pleas is located at 1 N. Second Street, Clearfield, PA 16830.
The person seeking the expungement or criminal record sealing in Clearfield County will be the "petitioner" in the case, and the Clearfield County District Attorney's Office will be the "respondent." The Clearfield County District Attorney's Office is located at 230 E Market St # 210, Clearfield, PA 16830.
The process for an expungement or criminal record sealing in Clearfield County will proceed without issue in most instances if the Clearfield 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 Clearfield, PA, will depend on the specifics of the Clearfield 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 Clearfield County as comprehensively as possible.
Because the Clearfield 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 Clearfield 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 Clearfield County for the petitioning party to also serve the District Attorney's Office.
Finding the Best Attorney for Clearfield County Expungement | Attorney for Clearfield County Record Sealing
When a person seeks to enter higher education or when pursuing employment or a professional license, their former arrest records or criminal records may stand in the way of their progress. The process for criminal record sealing and expungements can be frustrating and complex. The courts will often provide minimal guidance, but simultaneously expect an individual to know exactly what to do to properly file these motions to seek the requested relief, and errors in the filing process can lead to further delays of the expungement or record sealing process. For these reasons, these motions 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 criminal record sealing in Clearfield County, PA, contact attorney Joseph D. Lento today.