McKean County is one of Pennsylvania's northernmost counties, located on the border between Pennsylvania and New York. The county has over 42,000 residents and is known for being the home of the Zippo Lighter. The county is served in all matters of law by the McKean County Court of Common Pleas, located in the county seat of Smethport, PA. The court holds all records within the county and is also responsible for maintaining legal authority throughout the county. When a person wishes to expunge or seal prior criminal or arrest records, they must motion to do so through this court.
McKean County Expungements
Before a person may expunge their criminal or arrest record in McKean County, they must first fall within the state's guidelines for expungement. Pennsylvania only presents individuals with certain situations under which they may expunge their records. A person may expunge their record under the following circumstances:
- If a person has been convicted on a summary offense, completed their sentencing, and has fulfilled a five (5) year waiting period without additional criminal proceedings, they may expunge their record.
- If a person has completed an Accelerative Rehabilitative Disposition (ARD) program they may be eligible to expunge their record.
- A person over the age of 70 who has not suffered any additional criminal proceedings for at least ten (10) years may expunge their records.
Juvenile Expungement in McKean County
A juvenile record is a criminal or arrest record that is accrued prior to a person's 18th birthday. Contrary to popular belief, juvenile records are not automatically expunged upon a person's legal adulthood. These records must be expunged just as adult records, lest they can cause interference in a person's goals later in life. Pennsylvania provides wider circumstances in which a person may expunge their juvenile records. These circumstances include:
- A person is over the age of 18 and petitions the court for an expungement, and the court approves of their petition.
- A person was convicted on a juvenile offense, has served their sentence to completion, and has fulfilled a five (5) year waiting period without any additional criminal proceedings.
- A person was arrested for a juvenile charge, but the charges were dismissed.
- A person was placed under court supervision, the supervisory term has concluded, and at least six (6) months have passed without any additional criminal proceedings.
Sealing Records in McKean County
For more serious offenses, a person may seal these records through the use of Pennsylvania's "Limited Access" laws. These laws allow even misdemeanor offenses to be sealed from access during background checks. Only misdemeanor records at the level of a 2nd degree, 3rd degree, or ungraded misdemeanor charge may be eligible for this process. In addition, a person must also have allowed ten (10) years to pass without additional criminal proceedings against them.
Clearing Your Criminal Record in Smethport, Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania Expungement Process in Smethport
When expunging a criminal record in McKean County, whether as an adult, juvenile, or after ARD is complete, or sealing a criminal record in McKean County, the McKean County Court of Common Pleas will be where the matter is addressed. The Indiana County Court of Common Pleas is located at 500 W. Main Street, Smethport, PA 16749.
The person seeking the expungement or criminal record sealing in McKean County will be the "petitioner" in the case, and the McKean County District Attorney's Office will be the "respondent." The McKean County District Attorney's Office is located in the McKean County Courthouse; the address, as above, is 500 W. Main Street, Smethport, PA 16749.
The process for an expungement or criminal record sealing in McKean County will proceed without issue in most instances if the McKean 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 Smethport, PA, will depend on the specifics of the Mckean 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 McKean 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 McKean 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 McKean County for the petitioning party to also serve the District Attorney's Office.
Finding the Best Attorney for McKean County Expungement | Attorney for McKean County Record Sealing
Motioning for record sealing or expungement is of utmost importance for anyone who wishes to advance their career and employment prospects, obtain a professional license, or even attend college or other higher education. Prior criminal or arrest records can be a great hindrance to anyone wishing to pursue these goals. When a person attempts to file these motions on their own, the court is unlikely to provide proper guidance on how to do so. At the same time, failure to file the motion exactly correct yeah can lead to having to start the process over, if not an outright denial for relief. For these reasons, it may be most helpful to have an attorney conduct the filing and guide the process to reduce the chances for frustrating delays; 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 or record sealing in Smethport or McKean County, PA, contact attorney Joseph D. Lento today.