Dauphin County is located in southeast Pennsylvania. The county is the site of the state capital of Harrisburg, and is also home to over 272,000 residents. The county's highest court is the Dauphin County Court of Common Pleas, located in Harrisburg, PA. The court is responsible for resolving disputes of the law, both criminal and civil, as well as maintaining records throughout the county. If a person wishes to clear their name of any arrest or criminal records associated with them, they must petition this court to do so.
Expungements in Dauphin County
If a person seeks to motion for an expungement of a record in Dauphin County, they must first see if they meet the state's requirements for an expungement. Pennsylvania law only offers limited avenues for a person to reach eligibility for expungement. These circumstances include:
- If a person was offered the chance to participate in an Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (ARD) program instead of facing a criminal conviction, they may be eligible for an expungement following the program's completion.
- If a person is over the age of 70, and at least ten (10) years have passed without any criminal proceedings against them, they may be eligible for an expungement.
- If a person was convicted on a summary offense, they may be eligible for an expungement once their sentence is complete, and at least five (5) years have passed without additional criminal activity.
- If a person was arrested, but the criminal charges were, for example, dismissed by the Dauphin County Court, or withdrawn by the Dauphin County District Attorney's Office, these charges may be eligible for expungement; in some instances, however, a "redaction," also known as a "partial" expungement," may instead be the appropriate form of relief for charges that were dismissed or withdrawn.
Record Sealing in Dauphin County
Pennsylvania also offers those who have faced more serious offenses a chance to clear their records through the state's "Limited Access" laws when specific conditions are met. Once a criminal record is sealed through these laws, certain records will be unable to be accessed during background checks. Through Pennsylvania's Limited Access laws, misdemeanor records that include 2nd degree, 3rd degree, or ungraded misdemeanor level offenses can be sealed, with certain exceptions. A person must also not have had any criminal proceedings levied against them for at least ten (10) years time, and must have completed any relevant sentencing.
Juvenile Expungements in Dauphin County
Arrest or criminal records generated before a person's 18th birthday are referred to as "juvenile records." While many believe that these records will simply disappear upon turning 18, the truth of the matter is that they are just as permanent as adult records, and must be expunged. Pennsylvania law allows for more lenient eligibility requirements for juvenile records however. A person is eligible for a juvenile expungement when:
- A person was convicted on a juvenile offense, their sentence has been completed, and at least five (5) years have passed without additional criminal proceedings.
- A person was arrested for juvenile charges, but the charges have been dismissed or withdrawn.
- A person was placed under court supervision, and six (6) months have passed since the supervision has ended without additional criminal proceedings.
- A person is over the age of 18, and the court has approved their petition for expungement.
Clearing Your Criminal Record in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania Expungement Process in Harrisburg
When expunging a criminal record in Dauphin County, whether as an adult, juvenile, or after ARD is complete, or sealing a criminal record in Dauphin County, the Dauphin County Court of Common Pleas will be where the matter is addressed. The Dauphin County Court of Common Pleas is located at 101 Market Street, Harrisburg, PA 17101.
The person seeking the expungement or criminal record sealing in Dauphin County will be the "petitioner" in the case, and the Dauphin County District Attorney's Office will be the "respondent." The Dauphin County District Attorney's Office is located on the second floor of the Dauphin County Courthouse; the address, as above, is 101 Market Street, Harrisburg, PA 17101.
The process for an expungement or criminal record sealing in Dauphin County will proceed without issue in most instances if the Dauphin 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 Harrisburg, PA, will depend on the specifics of the Dauphin 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 Dauphin County as comprehensively as possible.
Because the Dauphin 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, Dauphin County has more unique procedural requirements than most Pennsylvania counties. The petitioning party should note that the Dauphin County Clerk of Courts requires one (1) original pleading and three (3) copies. Like most Pennsylvania counties, the petitioning party must serve the Dauphin County District Attorney's Office.
Finding the Best Attorney for Dauphin County Expungement | Attorney for Dauphin County Record Sealing
Motions of expungement and criminal record sealing are of particular importance for people trying to avoid employment issues, students pursuing further education, or professionals who seek professional licensure. Arrest records and criminal records can interfere with one's efforts to advance, or even obtain, employment, or maintain a professional license. In cases involving students who ran afoul of the law, past criminal and arrest records will often need to be disclosed to a college, university, or graduate program when applying for admission. Filing the motion for an expungement can be frustrating, as the court's directions are often vague and confusing. Delays can result from failure to meet their process and procedural requirements exactly. For this reason, an experienced Pennsylvania expungement attorney may be a person's best option for swift filings, and quicker results.
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 Harrisburg or Dauphin County, PA, contact attorney Joseph D. Lento today.