Mercer County is one of Pennsylvania's westernmost counties, sharing a border with the state of Ohio. The county is populated by over 114,000 residents within its borders. The within the county seat of Mercer, PA is the Mercer County Court of Common Pleas, the highest legal authority within the county. The court is not only responsible for resolving all issues of law, but also holding all records within the county for criminal offenses and arrests. When a person wishes to clear their name per Pennsylvania law, they must petition this court for a motion of expungement or the sealing of their record.
Expungement in Mercer County
Expungement is a motion that allows a person to clear certain records. When a person wishes to file an expungement motion in Mercer County, they must first be certain that they are within the bounds of Pennsylvania state law. The state allows for expungements through certain narrow circumstances. These include:
- A person may expunge their record if they have completed sentencing for a conviction on a summary offense, and at least five (5) years have passed without additional criminal matters pending against them.
- A person may expunge their record if they were permitted participation in an Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (ARD) program, and have completed the program.
- A person may expunge records if they are over the age of 70, and ten (10) years have passed without additional criminal proceedings.
- If a person was arrested, but the criminal charges were, for example, dismissed by the Mercer County Court, or withdrawn by the Mercer County District Attorney's Office, these charges may be eligible for expungement; a "partial" expungement, also known as a "redaction," may, in some instances, be the appropriate form or relief for charges that were dismissed or withdrawn.
Sealing Records in Mercer County
For more serious criminal offenses, a person may be able to seal their Mercer County misdemeanor records under Pennsylvania's "Limited Access" laws. These laws will prevent a person's records from being accessed during background checks, effectively sealing them. Only upgraded, 2nd degree, and 3rd-degree level misdemeanor charges may be sealed under these laws. In order to file for a record sealing motion, an individual must not have had any criminal proceedings waged against them for at least ten (10) years. Although most otherwise-eligible misdemeanor convictions can be sealed, there are certain limited exceptions which will depend on the petitioning party's specific circumstances.
Juvenile Record Expungement in Mercer County
When a person accrues any criminal or arrest records prior to their 18th birthday, the records will likely fall under the category of a juvenile record. Pennsylvania allows for less strict guidelines for eligibility for expungement on a juvenile record. It is important to keep in mind, however, that these records should be expunged, as they will not simply vanish upon a person's maturation into legal adulthood at age 18. A person may be eligible to expunge their juvenile records under the following circumstances:
- If an individual is over the age of 18, they may petition the court outright for an expungement, but the court must approve.
- If an individual has been arrested on juvenile charges, they may petition the court for an expungement of their arrest record provided that no criminal matters are pending.
- If an individual was placed under court supervision, once the supervisory period has ended, they may petition the court for an expungement after six (6) months have passed without additional criminal matters.
- If an individual was convicted on a juvenile offense, they may request an expungement once five (5) years have passed without additional criminal matters.
Clearing Your Criminal Record in Mercer, Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania Expungement Process in Mercer
When expunging a criminal record in Mercer County, PA, whether as an adult, juvenile, or after ARD is complete or sealing a criminal record in Mercer County, the Mercer County Court of Common Pleas will be where the matter is addressed. The Mercer County Court of Common Pleas is located at 103 N. Diamond Street, Mercer, PA 16137.
The person seeking the expungement or criminal record sealing in Mercer County will be the "petitioner" in the case, and the Mercer County District Attorney's Office will be the "respondent." The Mercer County District Attorney's Office is located in the Mercer County Courthouse; the address, as above, 103 N. Diamond Street, Mercer, PA 16137.
The process for an expungement or criminal record sealing in Mercer County will proceed without issue in most instances if the Mercer 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 Mercer, PA, will depend on the specifics of the Mercer 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 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 Mercer County as comprehensively as possible.
Because the Mercer 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 Mercer County Clerk of Courts requires one (1) original pleading. Although the Clerk of Courts will serve the District Attorney's Office, it is good practice in Mercer County for the petitioning party to also serve the District Attorney's Office.
Finding the Best Attorney for Mercer County Expungement | Attorney for Mercer County Record Sealing
Requesting an expungement or motioning to seal one's records are both important matters to students who seek to enter higher education, or workforce professionals seeking licensure to advance their career and employment opportunities. These motions, however, can be confusing for a person to file on their own, especially when courts fail to provide adequate direction for how these motions must be filed. Any mistakes in the process can cause unnecessary and bothersome delays. To reduce the likelihood of these delays, it may be best to consult with an attorney; 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 Mercer County, PA, contact attorney Joseph D. Lento today.