Schuylkill County is located in the eastern region of Pennsylvania. The county is home to over 144,000 residents within its cities and townships. The county answers in all matters of law to the Schuylkill County Court of Common Pleas located in Pottsville, PA. The court resolves all legal disputes, both criminal and civil, and maintains records within the county. When a person seeks to clear their name of any criminal or arrest records associated with them, they must petition this court through the filing of a motion for expungement or record sealing.
Expungement in Schuylkill County
Before a person may expunge their records in Schuylkill County they must meet the guidelines set forth by Pennsylvania state law. The state only allows a person to expunge their records under certain select circumstances. These include:
- A person has completed an Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (ARD) program in lieu of a conviction, and is not facing any additional criminal charges currently,
- A person is over the age of 70, and has not faced any criminal charges for at least ten (10) years,
- A person was convicted of a summary offense, has served their sentence, and has not faced additional criminal charges for at least five (5) years.
- If a person was arrested, but the criminal charges were, for example, dismissed by the Schuylkill County Court, or withdrawn by the Schuylkill County District Attorney's Office, these charges may be eligible for expungement; in some instances, a "partial" expungement," also known as a "redaction," may be the appropriate form of relief for charges that were dismissed or withdrawn, and such a determination will depend on the circumstances of the case.
Juvenile Expungement in Schuylkill County
When a person is charged with a crime prior to their 18th birthday, their records are typically classified as juvenile records. These records are less difficult to expunge than adult records, however, they should be taken just as seriously. Many believe that their juvenile records simply expire when they turn 18, but this notion is false. If a person seeks to expunge their juvenile records, one of the following circumstances must apply:
- A person has been convicted of a juvenile offense, fulfilled their sentencing, and at least five (5) years have passed without additional criminal offenses,
- A person has been placed under court supervision, has completed the supervisory period, and at least six (6) months have passed without additional criminal offenses,
- A person was arrested on a juvenile charge, the charges were dropped, and they are not currently facing criminal charges,
- A person is over the age of 18 and has convinced the court to grant them an expungement of their juvenile record through the strength of their argument in their petition.
Sealing Records in Schuylkill County
When a person has more serious records and criminal convictions, they may be able to clear their name using a separate process. This process is known as record sealing. In order to be eligible to seal one's records, a person must not have faced additional criminal proceedings for at least ten (10) years. Only ungraded, 3rd degree, and 2nd-degree misdemeanors may be expunged through this process. Sealing one's records through Pennsylvania's "Limited Access" laws will prevent the courts from releasing information during background checks. Although certain criminal convictions will be specifically prohibited from being sealed, most misdemeanors convictions can be sealed if conditions are met otherwise.
Clearing Your Criminal Record in Pottsville, Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania Expungement Process in Pottsville
When expunging a criminal record in Schuylkill County, whether as an adult, juvenile, or after ARD is complete, or sealing a criminal record in Schuylkill County, the Schuylkill County Court of Common Pleas will be where the matter is addressed. The Schuylkill County Court of Common Pleas is located at 401 N. Second Street, Pottsville, PA 17901.
The person seeking the expungement or criminal record sealing in Schuylkill County will be the "petitioner" in the case, and the Office of the District Attorney of Schuylkill will be the "respondent." The Office of the District Attorney is located in Schuylkill County Courthouse; as above, located at 401 North Second Street, Pottsville, PA 17901.
The process for an expungement or criminal record sealing in Schuylkill County will proceed without issue in most instances if the Schuylkill 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 Pottsville, PA, will depend on the specifics of the Schuylkill 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 Schuylkill County as comprehensively as possible.
Because the Schuylkill 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 Schuylkill County Clerk of Courts requires one (1) original pleading unlike most Pennsylvania counties, with the petitioning party being responsible for serving the Schuylkill County District Attorney's Office.
Finding the Best Attorney for Schuylkill County Expungement | Attorney for Schuylkill County Record Sealing
When a person wishes to better their employment prospects or further their career through pursuing education or obtaining a professional license, they face major setbacks when their prior criminal or arrest records gets in the way. Expungement and sealing records are crucial for anyone in these positions, however, these motions may be difficult to file on one's own. The courts may provide limited direction for how to conduct the filing, but these directions rarely give a person an accurate indication of what they must do to make sure the process is completed successfully and expeditiously. Errors in the filing process can result in delays and frustration; if not an outright denial of relief. To prevent such issues from occurring, it may be best to consult with an attorney regarding the relief sought, 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 or record sealing in Pottsville or Schuylkill County, PA, contact attorney Joseph D. Lento today.