Jefferson County is located within central Pennsylvania. The county itself is home to Punxsutawney Phil, along with nearly 44,000 other residents. The county's residents are served in all legal matters by the Jefferson County Court of Common Pleas. The court is located in Brookville, PA. The court maintains all records within the county, and also holds jurisdiction for both criminal and civil cases. When a person seeks to have a criminal or arrest record in Jefferson County expunged or sealed, the Jefferson County Court is the proper forum.
Jefferson County Expungements
Jefferson County offers the option of expungements for individuals with prior arrest or criminal records. Prior to making any motions for an expungement, however, an individual must meet the requirements set by the state of Pennsylvania in order to be eligible. Limited in scope, these requirements include:
- A person that is over the age of 70, and has not accrued any additional criminal charges for at least ten (10) years may expunge their former records.
- A person that was convicted on a summary offense and has also served their sentence may expunge their records after a five (5) year waiting period, provided no further criminal proceedings have taken place.
- A person who has fulfilled an Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (ARD) program may expunge their record at the program's completion.
- If a person was arrested, but the criminal charges were, for example, dismissed by the Jefferson County Court, or withdrawn by the Jefferson County District Attorney's Office, these charges may be eligible for expungement; in some instances, the appropriate form of relief for charges that were dismissed or withdrawn may be a "partial" expungement, also known as a "redaction."
Juvenile Records in Jefferson County
Whenever a person faces criminal charges prior to the age of 18, their records will be classified as "juvenile records." Contrary to popular belief, these records will still matter long after a person has turned 18, they will not simply "disappear." It is common for teenagers to engage in rebellious activity; at times, however, such behavior can result in criminal charges. If a young person has had the misfortune for this to happen, they must understand that mistakes made in a person's youth may still interfere long after they have become an adult. Fortunately, Pennsylvania is more lenient when it comes to the expungement of juvenile records. A person may expunge their juvenile records under the following circumstances:
- A person is over the age of 18 and has successfully petitioned the court for an expungement of their juvenile record.
- A person that was ordered court supervision has completed the supervisory period, and at least six (6) months have passed since the completion without any additional criminal proceedings.
- A person that was convicted on a juvenile delinquency charge has served their sentencing, and at least five (5) years have passed since that time without additional criminal proceedings.
- A person has faced juvenile charges in the past, but the charges were later dropped, and they do not have any current criminal matters on-going.
Record Sealing in Jefferson County
Typically, expungement within Jefferson County is limited to certain offenses, however, Pennsylvania has opened the possibility of record sealing on more serious offenses. Through the state's "Limited Access" laws, individuals who have faced misdemeanor charges may now clear their names. These laws prevent the records from appearing on background checks, sealing them from accessibility. Only misdemeanor crimes at the ungraded, 2nd degree, or 3rd-degree levels are eligible for sealing, and some specific exceptions exist. In addition, a person must have served their sentence, if necessary, and ten (10) years without any criminal matters must have passed.
Clearing Your Criminal Record in Brookville, Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania Expungement Process in Brookville
When expunging a criminal record in Jefferson County, whether as an adult, juvenile, or after ARD is complete or sealing a criminal record in Jefferson County, the Jefferson County Court of Common Pleas will be where the matter is addressed. The Jefferson County Court of Common Pleas is located at 200 Main Street, Brookville, PA 15825.
The person seeking the expungement or criminal record sealing in Jefferson County will be the "petitioner" in the case, and the Jefferson County District Attorney's Office will be the "respondent." The Jefferson County District Attorney's Office is located in the Jefferson County Courthouse; the address, as above, is 200 Main Street, Brookville, PA 15825.
The process for an expungement or criminal record sealing in Jefferson County will proceed without issue in most instances if the Jefferson 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 Emporium, PA, will depend on the specifics of the Jefferson 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 Jefferson County as comprehensively as possible.
Because the Jefferson 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 Jefferson 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 Jefferson County for the petitioning party to also serve the District Attorney's Office.
Finding the Best Attorney for Jefferson County Expungement | Attorney for Jefferson County Record Sealing
Criminal and arrest records can very seriously jeopardize a person's ability to maintain employment, pursue higher education, or continue to hold a professional license. When a person seeks to expunge or seal their records, court employees will seldom provide adequate guidance; in part, because they are not allowed to give legal advice. However, in spite of the lack of guidance, the court will often demand that a filing is done exactly correct the first time, lest the petitioner starts the process over. This can lead to frustrating delays. In some instances, a request for relief can be altogether denied if the matter is not properly addressed. To reduce any potential for error and delay, it may be best to have these matters 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 in Brookville or Jefferson County, PA, contact attorney Joseph D. Lento today.