Forest County is a smaller Northwestern Pennsylvania county. The county is populated by over 7,000 residents. The county shares a courthouse with Warren County, and the court itself is located in Tionesta, PA. This court is responsible for the resolution of legal disputes within the counties and maintaining the records for each county. When a person wishes to file for an expungement or sealing of their records, they must petition this court.
Expungement Requirements in Forest County
The first step to determining whether or not a person may file for expungement within Forest County is to see if the state requirements have been met. Expungements are only allowed under certain circumstances within Pennsylvania. To be eligible, one of the following circumstances must apply to the petitioner:
- The petitioner is over 70 years old and has not faced any criminal proceedings for the past ten (10) years.
- The petitioner is seeking to expunge a summary offense and has completed their sentence, along with not facing any criminal proceedings for the past five (5) years.
- The petitioner was able to complete an Alternative Rehabilitative Disposition program instead of facing a conviction, and the ARD program was successfully completed.
- If a person was arrested, but the criminal charges were, for example, dismissed by the Forest County Court, or withdrawn by the Forest County District Attorney's Office, these charges may be eligible for expungement; the appropriate form of relief for charges that were dismissed or withdrawn in some instances may be a "partial" expungement, also known as a "redaction."
Sealing Records in Forest County
A person who has faced certain misdemeanor charges and convictions may have a chance to seal those records through the use of Pennsylvania's "Limited Access" laws. Under these laws, a person may significantly reduce access to their records, effectively sealing them. In order to qualify for this method of record sealing in Forest County, a person must have allowed at least ten (10) years to pass without any additional criminal proceedings, along with fulfilling any sentencing conditions after they were convicted. Also, only misdemeanors under the 2nd degree, 3rd degree, and ungraded categories may be sealed, and certain limited exceptions apply.
Expunging Juvenile Records in Forest County
When a person has records that exist prior to their 18th birthday, they will often be considered juvenile records. A majority of the time, juvenile records are the result of unwise teenage behavior, and many people believe that mistakes made prior to their transition to adulthood will not follow them. These records can become a problem later in life, however, when adults find that their juvenile records did not simply "disappear" upon their 18th birthday. Fortunately, Pennsylvania law offers several avenues for a person to request an expungement of their juvenile records. These include:
- When a person turns 18, they may simply petition the court for an expungement of their juvenile record, however, the court must approve this petition.
- When a person has been charged with a juvenile offense but later had the charges dropped, they may expunge that record.
- When a person was convicted of a juvenile offense, they must wait out a five (5) year period after their sentencing is completed without having any criminal proceedings against them before making a request for expungement.
- When a person is placed under court supervision, six (6) months after the supervision concludes, they may make a request for expungement provided no additional criminal charges have been levied.
Clearing Your Criminal Record in Tionesta, Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania Expungement Process in Tionesta
When expunging a criminal record in Forest County, whether as an adult, juvenile, or after ARD is complete or sealing a criminal record in Forest County, the Forest County Court of Common Pleas will be where the matter is addressed. The Forest County Court of Common Pleas is located at 526 Elm Street, Tionesta, PA 16353.
The person seeking the expungement or criminal record sealing in Forest County will be the "petitioner" in the case, and the Forest County District Attorney's Office will be the "respondent." The Forest County District Attorney's Office is located in the Forest County Court; the address to the District Attorney's Office is 526 Elm St # 5, Tionesta, PA 16353
The process for an expungement or criminal record sealing in Forest County will proceed without issue in most instances if the Forest 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 Tionesta, PA, will depend on the specifics of the Forest 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 Forest County as comprehensively as possible.
Because the Forest 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 Forest County Clerk of Courts requires one (1) original pleading unlike most Pennsylvania counties, with the petitioning party being responsible for serving the Butler County District Attorney's Office.
Finding the Best Attorney for Forest County Expungement | Attorney for Forest County Record Sealing
Prior arrest or criminal records can a major impediment to anyone seeking to pursue employment, advance their careers, continue their education, or obtain a professional license. In addition, persons who wish to expunge or seal these records may be hindered by receiving minimal direction from the courts on how to do so. Delays can be the result of failing to follow the process properly. At times, requests for relief can be denied altogether if not pursued properly. For these reasons, it may be best to have an attorney handle these expungements to reduce the likelihood of any delays or frustration; 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 your loved one is seeking an expungement or record sealing in Tionesta or Forest County, PA, contact attorney Joseph D. Lento today.