Fayette County is located on the southwestern border of Pennsylvania, sharing borders with West Virginia and Maryland. The county supports a population of over 133,000 residents. These residents are served in all matters of law by the Fayette County Court of Common Pleas, located in Uniontown, PA. The court is responsible for settling disputes of the law, as well as addressing criminal charges. In addition, the court holds records throughout the county. When a person wishes to expunge or seal a prior arrest or criminal record, it must be done through a petition to this court.
Fayette County Expungement Requirements
When a person wishes to motion for an expungement at the Fayette County Court of Common Pleas, they must first see whether or not they are eligible for this motion under the state's laws. Pennsylvania has somewhat strict requirements on eligibility for expungement. A person may expunge their record under the following circumstances:
- If a person was convicted on a summary offense charge, once their sentencing is completed and five (5) years have passed without criminal proceedings, they may be eligible for an expungement.
- If a person was offered a chance to avoid conviction by participating in an Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition program (ARD), upon the program's completion, they may be able to obtain an expungement.
- If a person is over the age of 70, and at least ten (10) years have passed without any additional criminal proceedings, their records may be expunged.
- If a person was arrested, but the criminal charges were, for example, dismissed by the Fayette County Court, or withdrawn by the Fayette County District Attorney's Office, these charges will be eligible for expungement; depending on the specific circumstances of the case, however, a "partial" expungement, also known as a "redaction," may be the applicable form of relief.
Sealing a Record in Fayette County
Pennsylvania state law allows for the sealing of more serious criminal and arrest records. This process is performed through the state's "Limited Access" laws. When a person seals their records, they will not come up on any background checks, under certain circumstances. In order to be eligible for this process, a person must have served their sentence, if necessary, and at least ten (10) years must have passed without any additional criminal charges. Only 2nd degree, 3rd degree, or ungraded misdemeanors may be sealed, and certain exceptions exist.
Expunging Juvenile Records in Fayette County
Many times, youthful mischief or poor choices made at a younger age can result in a person developing a juvenile record for actions prior to their 18th birthday. Oftentimes, people mistakenly believe that these records simply "clear" themselves following their coming of age. Unfortunately, this is not the case, and these records can continue to affect a person's life just as an adult record would if they are not expunged. Pennsylvania does offer more lenient guidelines for expungements of juvenile records. These include:
- A person convicted on a juvenile delinquency offense may expunge the record after five (5) years have passed since their sentence was completed without additional criminal proceedings.
- A person that was placed under juvenile court supervision may expunge their record once the supervision has concluded and at least six (6) months have passed since without additional criminal proceedings.
- Individuals that were arrested on juvenile charges, but were later able to have the charges dismissed or dropped will be able to request an expungement.
- Once a person turns 18, they may be able to request to have their records expunged outright, but the court must approve of their petition.
Clearing Your Criminal Record in Uniontown, Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania Expungement Process in Uniontown
When expunging a record in Fayette County, whether as an adult, juvenile, or after ARD is complete or sealing a record in Fayette County, the Fayette County Court of Common Pleas will be where the matter is addressed. The Fayette County Court of Common Pleas is located at 61 East Main Street, Uniontown, PA 15401.
The person seeking the expungement or record sealing in Fayette County will be the "petitioner" in the case, and theFayette County District Attorney's Office will be the "respondent." The Fayette County District Attorney's Office is located in the Fayette County Courthouse; the address, as above, is 61 East Main Street, Uniontown, PA 15401.
The process for an expungement or record sealing in Fayette County will proceed without issue in most instances if the Fayette 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 Uniontown, PA, will depend on the specifics of the Fayette 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 criminal 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 Fayette County as comprehensively as possible.
Because the Fayette County Court will most often decide a request for an expungement or record sealing "on the pleadings," meaning that judgment will be made based upon 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. The Fayette County Clerk of Courts, or "Prothonotary's Office," is unique among Pennsylvania counties when seeking an expungement or record sealing.
In that regard, one (1) original pleading plus two (2) copies are required when filing. Although the Fayette County Clerk of Courts will serve the Fayette County District Attorney's Office, the petitioning party should attempt to determine the position of the District Attorney's Office regarding the expungement or record sealing; in other words, whether the matter is consented to, or if there is an objection. When the position of the District Attorney's Office can be determined in advance of the filing, it should be included on the proposed "order," which will be part of the pleadings. A "Motions" court date will be set regardless of the position of the District Attorney's Office. If there is no objection, however, the court date is a procedural formality and the petitioning party is not be expected to attend.
Finding the Best Attorney for Fayette County Expungement | Attorney for Fayette County Record Sealing
When a person seeks to avoid employment issues, obtain a professional license, or to pursue education goals, their prior arrest or criminal records will often be incredibly detrimental to their progress towards these goals. When attempting to expunge or seal a criminal record, the courts will seldom provide adequate direction, believing instead that a person will know exactly what to do. Errors in the filing process can cause a person's expungement or sealing to be delayed, which can lead to frustration and complication in other areas of their life. For this reason, it may be best to have these motions handled by an attorney, and 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 Uniontown or Fayette County, PA, contact attorney Joseph D. Lento today.