Susquehanna County is located on the northeastern border of Pennsylvania, sharing borders with New York. The county is populated by over 41,000 residents among its townships and boroughs. The Susquehanna County Court of Common Pleas, located in Montrose, PA, is responsible for settling legal disputes, maintaining judicial authority, and keeping records of criminal convictions and arrests within the county. A person that wishes to clear their records must petition this court through the means of filing a motion.
Susquehanna County Expungements
When a person wishes to expunge their records within Susquehanna County, they must first meet Pennsylvania's state requirements for an expungement. The state only allows for narrow circumstances under which a person may apply for and obtain an expungement. These circumstances include:
- A person was offered an Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (ARD) program in lieu of facing a conviction.
- A person has aged over 70 years and has not faced additional criminal matters for at least ten (10) years
- A person was convicted on a summary offense, has completed their sentencing for the offense, and at least five (5) years have passed without additional criminal offenses.
- If a person went to trial, for example, at the Susquehanna County District Court level or, as would more often be the case, at the Court of Common Pleas in Montrose, and was found not guilty of a charge or charges, such criminal charges will be eligible to be expunged.
- If a person was arrested, but the criminal charges were, for example, dismissed by the Susquehanna County Court, or withdrawn by the Susquehanna County District Attorney's Office, these charges may be eligible for expungement; the appropriate form of relief for charges that were dismissed or withdrawn in some instances may be a "redaction," also known as a "partial" expungement.
Susquehanna County Juvenile Records
Individuals who are convicted or face criminal charges prior to their coming of age will likely have their records classified as juvenile records. These records are often taken less seriously by individuals who mistakenly believe that they will "vanish" upon their becoming legal adults. This mistaken belief can be harmful, as they may find later in life that incidents they were associated with their youth will cause unexpected negative consequences. Thankfully, Pennsylvania allows for less strict circumstances for juvenile expungement, however, these records must be expunged because, as noted, they will otherwise remain after a juvenile becomes an adult. A person my expunge their juvenile record if:
- If they are over the age of 18 and have successfully petitioned the court for an expungement; however, the court must be convinced to grant it outright.
- If they were convicted on a juvenile offense, but have completed their sentence and at least five (5) years have passed since the completion.
- If they were placed under court supervision, have completed the supervisory period, and at least six (6) months have passed since the completion.
- If they were arrested on a juvenile charge, and the charges have since been dropped, so long as no other criminal charges are outstanding.
Susquehanna County Record Sealing
When a person has more severe criminal records and convictions in Susquehanna County, they may clear their name using a separate process: sealing of their records. A person's records may be sealed through the use of Pennsylvania's "Limited Access" laws. The laws will prohibit access to these records during most background checks. A person may seal their misdemeanor records, provided that they are at the level of a 3rd degree, 2nd degree, or ungraded misdemeanor level. A person must have fulfilled a waiting period of at least 10 years without additional criminal matters against them in order to seal their record. Some specific convictions are specifically ineligible, and a person has to also meet certain secondary eligibility requirements.
Clearing Your Criminal Record in Montrose, Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania Expungement Process in Montrose
When expunging a criminal record in Susquehanna County, whether as an adult, juvenile or after ARD is complete or sealing a criminal record in Susquehanna County, the Susquehanna County Court of Common Pleas will be where the matter is addressed; located at 105 Maple St, Montrose, PA 18801.
The person seeking the expungement or criminal record sealing in Susquehanna County will be the "petitioner" in the case, and the Susquehanna County District Attorney's Office will be the "respondent." The District Attorney's Office is located in the Susquehanna County Courthouse; the address to the District Attorney's Office is 105 Maple Street, P.O. Box 218, Montrose. PA 18801.
The process for an expungement or criminal record sealing in Susquehanna County will proceed without issue in most instances if the Susquehanna 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 Montrose, PA, will depend on the specifics of the Susquehanna 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 Susquehanna County as comprehensively as possible.
Because the Susquehanna 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 Susquehanna County Clerk of Courts requires one (1) original pleading unlike most Pennsylvania counties, with the petitioning party being responsible for serving the Susquehanna County District Attorney's Office.
Finding the Best Attorney for Susquehanna County Expungement | Attorney for Susquehanna County Record Sealing
Applying for employment, to higher education, or for a professional license often requires a person to submit to a background check. This can be problematic for a person who has prior records within Susquehanna County. These records may block a person's path towards progressing in their life. Motioning for expungement or sealing one's records can be complex and confusing. On top of this, the court rarely offers a high degree of help for individuals unfamiliar with the process. Errors in filing can cause delays and frustration. To reduce the likelihood of this happening, it may be best to consult with an attorney regarding the filing of these motions; 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 Montrose or Susquehanna County, PA, contact attorney Joseph D. Lento today.