Lebanon County is one of Pennsylvania's rural counties, located in the southeast portion of the state. The county is made up of several townships and supports over 137,000 residents across them. Legal matters within the county are resolved by the Lebanon County Court of Common Pleas, located in Lebanon, PA. The court also holds and maintains legal records within the county. Individuals who have prior criminal or arrest records within the county may wish to petition this court for an expungement or a sealing of their records.
Lebanon County Expungement
Expungement cannot begin in Lebanon County without first adhering to the state's standards for this motion. A person must fulfill certain circumstances in order to expunge their records. Pennsylvania's expungement requirements include:
- After ten (10) years without additional criminal incidents or proceedings, a person over 70 years of age may expunge their records.
- If a person was able to avoid a criminal conviction through participation in an Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (ARD) program, they will be able to expunge their record once the program is fulfilled.
- Individuals that were convicted on a summary offense may expunge their records once their sentencing has been served and at least five (5) years have passed without additional criminal matters.
- If a person was arrested, but the criminal charges were, for example, dismissed by the Lebanon County Court, or withdrawn by the Lebanon County District Attorney's Office, these charges may be eligible for expungement; the appropriate form of relief for charges that were dismissed or withdrawn may, depending on the circumstances of the case, be a "redaction," also known as a "partial" expungement.
Juvenile Records in Lebanon County
When a person accrues a criminal or arrest record in their youth, it is often recorded as a juvenile offense. While it is certainly true that these acts are often the mere result of youthful rebellion, these records are often just as serious and obstructive to a person's goals as adult records. In addition, many people feel as though they can "wait out" the records, in hopes that turning 18 will remove them from a person's record. This is false; these records must be expunged just as adult records must be, when eligible. In order to expunge a juvenile record, one of the following circumstances must apply:
- A person was convicted of a juvenile offense, and five (5) years have passed since the fulfillment of their sentence without additional criminal matters against them.
- A person was arrested on a juvenile charge, and the charges have been withdrawn or dropped.
- A person was placed under court supervision, and six (6) months have passed since the supervisory period has concluded without and additional criminal proceedings.
- A person is over the age of 18, and the court has approved of their petition to expunge their records.
Lebanon County Record Sealing
For more serious offenses, a person still has one recourse for sealing their records. This is done through Pennsylvania's "Limited Access" laws, which prevent access to a person's records during standard background checks. Under these laws, only 2nd degree, 3rd degree, or ungraded misdemeanor offenses may be sealed. Also, a person must have fulfilled a ten (10) year waiting period without any additional criminal proceedings waged against them. Although most otherwise-eligible misdemeanor convictions will be eligible for record sealing, there are certain limited exceptions which can depend on the petitioning party's particular circumstances and also the nature of the specific offense.
Clearing Your Criminal Record in Lebanon, Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania Expungement Process in Lebanon
When expunging a criminal record in Lebanon County, whether as an adult, juvenile or after ARD is complete or sealing a criminal record in Lebanon County, the Lebanon County Court of Common Pleas will be where the matter is addressed. The Lebanon County Court of Common Pleas is located at 400 South Eighth Street, Lebanon, PA, 17042.
The person seeking the expungement or criminal record sealing in Lebanon County will be the "petitioner" in the case, and the Lebanon County District Attorney's Office will be the "respondent." The Lebanon County District Attorney's Office is located in rhe Lebanon County Court; the address, as above, is 400 S. Eighth Street, Lebanon, PA, 17042.
The process for an expungement or criminal record sealing in Lebanon County will proceed without issue in most instances if the Lebanon 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 Lebanon, PA, will depend on the specifics of the Lebanon 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 Lebanon County as comprehensively as possible.
Because the Lebanon 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 Huntingdon 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 Lebanon County for the petitioning party to also serve the District Attorney's Office.
Finding the Best Attorney for Lebanon County Expungement | Attorney for Lebanon County Record Sealing
A person's arrest or criminal records at either the adult or juvenile record can be a thorn in the side of any goals or career advancements they wish to fulfill. This is especially important for individuals who seek to enter higher education or to obtain a professional license. It may be difficult for a person to obtain an expungement or criminal record sealing as courts do not always provide adequate direction and guidance for how to file these motions. Improper procedure in the filing can result in frustrating delays, if not an outright denial of relief. For these reasons, it may be best to have an attorney conduct the filing in order to both reduce the potential for delay and maximize the likelihood of success; 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 Lebanon County, PA, contact attorney Joseph D. Lento today.