Indiana County is located within the heart of Pennsylvania. Within its townships and municipalities the county supports over 86,000 residents. All matters and disputes of law within the county are subject to the authority of the Indiana County Court of Common Pleas, located in Indiana, PA. The court is also responsible for maintaining and holding records throughout the county, including criminal and arrest records. When a person seeks to expunge or seal these records, the court must be petitioned for these motions for relief.
Expungement in Indiana County
When a person files for an expungement in Indiana County, the court will use the Pennsylvania state guidelines for expungement to determine whether or not they are eligible. Pennsylvania sets restrictive guidelines on whether or not a person is able to receive an expungement. The state guidelines include:
- If a person has completed an Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (ARD) program, they may file for an expungement once the program is completed. These programs are typically offered to defendants in lieu of a conviction.
- If a person was convicted of a summary offense and their sentencing has been completed, after a five (5) year waiting period without criminal proceedings, they may seek to expunge their record.
- If a person is over the age of 70, and at least ten (10) years have passed without criminal proceedings, they may be eligible to expunge their records.
- If a person was arrested, but the criminal charges were, for example, dismissed by the Indiana County Court, or withdrawn by the Indiana County District Attorney's Office, such charges may be eligible for expungement; depending on the specific circumstances of the case, however, a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.
Sealing Records in Indiana County
For higher-level crimes and convictions, Pennsylvania offers a separate route for clearing a person's name. This is done through the state's "Limited Access" laws. These laws allow for even misdemeanors at the 2nd degree to be sealed. Additionally, 3rd degree and ungraded misdemeanors may also be sealed under these laws. There are, however, certain limited exceptions that specifically prohibit the sealing of records, although this is the exception and not the rule when a person is otherwise eligible. The Limited Access laws operate by restricting the access to a person's records during most background checks. In order to be eligible, a person must have completed any sentencing relevant to their offense, and also have allowed ten (10) years to pass without additional criminal proceedings against them.
Expungement of Juvenile Records in Indiana County
When a person has criminal or arrest records that exist prior to their legal adulthood, they are often classified as juvenile records. Juvenile records, contrary to popular belief, do not simply "clear" themselves upon a person's 18th birthday. These records must be expunged because they can strongly interfere with a person's future goals. Fortunately, Pennsylvania law has a higher degree of leniency on what juvenile records may be expunged, and how a person may be eligible for an expungement. Pennsylvania's requirements for juvenile expungement include:
- If a person was convicted on a juvenile delinquency offense, after a five (5) year period without additional criminal matters and the completion of their sentence they may request an expungement of this record.
- If a person was placed under court supervision, after a six (6) month period without further criminal matters and the completion of their supervision, they may request an expungement.
- If a person was arrested on juvenile charges, but the charges were later dropped, they may immediately request an expungement.
- Once a person turns 18, they may immediately petition the court for an expungement, however, the court will have to approve.
Clearing Your Criminal Record in Indiana, Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania Expungement Process in Indiana
When expunging a criminal record in Indiana County, whether as an adult, juvenile, or after ARD is complete, or sealing a criminal record in Indiana County, the Indiana County Court of Common Pleas will be where the matter is addressed. The Indiana County Court of Common Pleas is located at 825 Philadelphia Street, Indiana, PA 15701.
The person seeking the expungement or criminal record sealing in Indiana County will be the "petitioner" in the case, and the Indiana County District Attorney's Office will be the "respondent." The Indiana County District Attorney's Office is located in the Indiana County Courthouse; the address, as above, is 825 Philadelphia St, Indiana, PA 15701.
The process for an expungement or criminal record sealing in Indiana County will proceed without issue in most instances if the Indiana 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 Indiana, PA, will depend on the specifics of the Indiana 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 Indiana County as comprehensively as possible.
Because the Indiana 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 Indiana County Clerk of Courts requires one (1) original pleading unlike most Pennsylvania counties. Although the Clerk of Courts will serve the District Attorney's Office, it is good practice in Indiana County for the petitioning party to also serve the District Attorney's Office.
Finding the Best Attorney for Indiana County Expungement | Attorney for Indiana County Record Sealing
Adult and juvenile records that come up on background checks can have harsh effects when a person seeks to pursue an education or obtain a professional license. Avoiding employment issues can also be a major concern. While the remedies of expungement and criminal record sealing are available when a person is eligible, courts will seldom provide adequate instruction on how the motion should be filed and how to proceed with the process. Errors in the process can lead to delays and frustration, and an outright denial of relief can at times be an unfortunate reality. For these reasons, to minimize any possibility of a delay or frustration, a person seeking such relief would be well-served by having an experienced Pennsylvania expungement attorney handle the matter.
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 in Indiana County, PA, contact attorney Joseph D. Lento today.