Lackawanna County is located in Northeastern Pennsylvania and is the site of several Pennsylvania colleges and business centers. The county itself has over 211,000 residents within its townships and boroughs. All legal disputes within the county are resolved in the Lackawanna County Court of Common Pleas, which is located in Scranton, PA. The court maintains all records within the county as well. If a person has a prior arrest or criminal record that was generated within the county, they must petition this court for an expungement.
Lackawanna County Expungements
When a person seeks to clear their name in Lackawanna County, they must first determine whether or not the state's requirements for expungement have been met. Pennsylvania only allows a person to expunge their record under certain circumstances. These circumstances include:
- If a person has been convicted on a summary offense and has completed any relevant sentencing, they will be eligible for an expungement once at least five (5) years have passed.
- If a person was offered a chance to avoid a conviction by participating in an Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (ARD) program, they may expunge their record once they have completed the program and are not currently facing any criminal proceedings.
- If a person is over the age of 70 and has not faced any criminal proceedings for at least ten (10) years, they may expunge their record.
- If a person was arrested, but the criminal charges were, for example, dismissed by the Lackawanna County Court, or withdrawn by the Lackawanna County District Attorney's Office, these charges may be eligible for expungement; depending on the circumstances of the case, the appropriate form of relief for charges that were dismissed or withdrawn may be a "partial" expungement, also known as a "redaction."
Lackawanna County Juvenile Expungements
When a person accrues a criminal or arrest record prior to their 18th birthday, these records are more often than not classified under their juvenile records. Because of the youthful nature of these types of records, Pennsylvania offers more lenient requirements under which a person may expunge their juvenile records. It is important to remember, however, that these records do not simply disappear or vanish upon a person's 18th birthday. Instead, they must be expunged the same as adult records to prevent interference in a person's life. A person may expunge their juvenile records if:
- They petition the court, and the court approves of their motion.
- They have served their sentence for a juvenile conviction, and at least five (5) years have passed since without any additional criminal proceedings.
- They have completed a court-ordered supervision, and at least six (6) months have passed without additional criminal proceedings.
- They were placed under arrest for a juvenile charge, but the charges were later dropped or withdrawn.
Lackawanna County Record Sealing
For more serious criminal offenses, it may be necessary to pursue a more specialized option to clear one's criminal record. This process utilizes Pennsylvania's ": Limited Access" laws and relies on prevention of access to a person's criminal or arrest records. With certain limited exceptions, 2nd degree, 3rd degree, and ungraded misdemeanor charges and convictions are all eligible for record sealing under this process. In addition, a person must have completed their sentencing, and at least ten (10) years must have passed without any further or additional criminal proceedings against them.
Clearing Your Criminal Record in Scranton, Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania Expungement Process in Scranton
When expunging a criminal record in Lackawanna County, whether as an adult, juvenile, or after ARD is complete or sealing a criminal record in Lackawanna County, the Lackawanna County Court of Common Pleas will be where the matter is addressed. The Lackawanna County Court of Common Pleas is located at 200 N. Washington Avenue, Scranton, PA 18503.
The person seeking the expungement or criminal record sealing in Lackawanna County will be the "petitioner" in the case, and the Lackawanna County District Attorney's Office will be the "respondent." The Lackawanna County District Attorney's Office is located at 415 Spruce St, Scranton, PA 18503.
The process for an expungement or criminal record sealing in Lackawanna County will proceed without issue in most instances if the Lackawanna 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 Scranton, PA, will depend on the specifics of the Lackawanna 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 Lackawanna County as comprehensively as possible.
Because the Lackawanna 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 Lackawanna 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 Lackawanna County for the petitioning party to also serve the District Attorney's Office.
Finding the Best Attorney for Lackawanna County Expungement | Attorney for Lackawanna County Record Sealing
Prior arrest or criminal records can be significant hurdles in a person's path to success in their career, education, or their application for a professional license. For this reason, these records should be taken seriously, and expunged when a person is eligible. The expungement or record sealing process, however, is seldom offered to individuals with adequate direction from the court. Any missteps in the process can lead to delays and frustration. An experienced Pennsylvania expungement attorney will be able to guide a person through the process and will make the prospect of success as likely as possible.
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 motion in Scranton or Lackawanna County, PA, contact attorney Joseph D. Lento today.