Elk County, Pennsylvania, is located in the northwestern region of the state. The county has over 30,000 residents within its borders. Elk County is served in all matters of law by the Elk County Court of Common Pleas, located in the county seat of Ridgway, PA. The court resolves all cases involving both criminal and civil law. The court is also responsible for maintaining and holding records throughout the county. Individuals seeking to clear their records must petition this court for an expungement motion or record sealing motion.
Expungements in Elk County
When a person wishes to expunge a record within Elk County, they must first determine whether or not they are able to meet the state's requirements to do so. Pennsylvania law has strict requirements that must be met before a person may expunge their records. These requirements are
- A person that has aged over the age of 70 and has not faced criminal charges in a period of at least ten (10) years will be eligible for expungement of their records.
- A person that was offered an Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition program (ARD) instead of a criminal conviction will be eligible for an expungement following the completion of the program.
- A person who was convicted on a summary offense is eligible for an expungement once their sentence has been served, and at least five (5) years have passed without additional criminal proceedings.
- If a person was arrested, but the criminal charges were, for example, dismissed by the Elk County Court, or withdrawn by the Elk County District Attorney's Office, these charges may be eligible for expungement; depending on the specific circumstances of the case, however, a "partial expungement," also known as a "redaction," may be the appropriate form of relief.
Record Sealing in Elk County
Pennsylvania allows for more serious criminal records to be sealed under the state's "Limited Access" laws. These laws will allow a person to prevent access to their records during background checks, effectively sealing them. Many misdemeanor crimes are eligible for sealing under these laws, however, they must be at the 2nd degree, 3rd degree, or ungraded level in order to be sealed. In addition, the petitioner for the record sealing motion must have fully completed their sentencing, if necessary, and must not have faced any criminal proceedings for at least ten (10) years.
Juvenile Records in Elk County
If a person has records that exist prior to their turning 18, these will generally be considered juvenile records. These records must be expunged just the same as adult records to prevent interference in a person's career, education, or other goals. The reason that juvenile records must be expunged when possible is because juvenile records do not simply disappear once a person comes of age. Thankfully, Pennsylvania law is less restrictive when it comes to obtaining expungements on a juvenile record. A person may expunge their juvenile records under the following circumstances:
- A person is over the age of 18 and has petitioned the court for expungement, and the court has approved.
- A person was placed under court supervision, the supervision has concluded, and at least six (6) months have passed without additional criminal proceeding.
- A person faced juvenile charges, but the charges were dismissed or withdrawn.
- A person was convicted on a juvenile delinquency offense, their sentence has been completed, and at least five (5) years have passed without facing additional criminal charges.
Clearing Your Criminal Record in Ridgway, Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania Expungement Process in Ridgway
When expunging a criminal record in Elk County, whether as an adult, juvenile, or after ARD is complete, or sealing a criminal record in Elk County, the Elk County Court of Common Pleas will be where the matter is addressed. The Elk County Court of Common Pleas is located at 250 Main Street, Ridgway, PA 15853 (although the mailing address is 240 Main Street, P.O. Box 448, Ridgway, PA 15853).
The person seeking the expungement or criminal record sealing in Elk County will be the "petitioner" in the case, and the Elk County District Attorney's Office will be the "respondent." The Elk County District Attorney's Office is located in the Elk County Courthouse; the address, as above, is 250 Main Street, Ridgway, PA 15853.The process for an expungement or criminal record sealing in Elk County will proceed without issue in most instances if the Elk 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 Ridgway, PA, will depend on the specifics of the Elk 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 Elk County as comprehensively as possible
Because the Elk 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 Elk County Clerk of Courts requires one (1) original pleading. It is the petitioning party's responsibility to serve the Elk County District Attorney's Office. In light of this procedural requirement, when filing, an extra copy of the pleading should be "time-stamped" and thereafter served upon the District Attorney's Office.
Finding the Best Attorney for Elk County Expungement | Attorney for Elk County Record Sealing
Criminal, arrest, or juvenile records can directly and negatively impact a person's ability to pursue employment, higher education, or to hold a professional license. Expungements and criminal record sealings are important motions for exactly these reasons, however, courts will often provide a person with little to no guidance on how to file or how to proceed with the appropriate request for relief. Failure to follow the process properly can result in delays and frustration. For this reason, it may be best to leave these motions in the hands of a capable attorney to speed the process along; an experienced Pennsylvania expungement attorney can help.
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 Ridgway or Elk County, PA, contact attorney Joseph D. Lento today.