Venango County is located in the northwestern region of Pennsylvania. The county supports over 53,119 residents within its bounds. The populace of the county is served in all legal matters by the Venango County Court of Common Pleas, located in Franklin, PA. The court resolves all legal disputes within the county, and also maintains the records of criminal convictions and arrests. When a person has prior records that they wish to expunge or seal, they must petition this court using the appropriate motion.
Venango County Expungements
A person may expunge their records in Venango County once the requirements set by the state of Pennsylvania have been met. An expungement is only attainable by meeting specific requirements. These can include:
- A person was convicted on a summary offense, and at least five (5) years have passed since they have fulfilled their sentencing.
- A person was a participant in an Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (ARD) program and has completed the program.
- A person is over the age of 70 and has not faced any criminal charges for at least ten (10) year.
- If a person was arrested, but the criminal charges were, for example, dismissed by the Venango County Court, or withdrawn by the Venango County District Attorney's Office, these charges may be eligible for expungement; the appropriate form of relief for charges that were dismissed or withdrawn in some instances may be a "partial" expungement, also known as a "redaction."
Venango County Record Sealing
For more serious charges and convictions, a person may use Pennsylvania's "Limited Access" laws to file a motion in Venango County to seal their criminal records. A successful motion will prevent most individuals and agencies conducting a background check from accessing the records. When a person has misdemeanor records at the 2nd degree, 3rd degree, or ungraded level, they may be eligible to seal them under this process. A person must have allowed ten (10) years to pass since fulfilling their sentence without additional criminal matters. Certain misdemeanor convictions are ineligible by statute for sealing, but most will be able to be sealed if the person meets all eligibility requirements otherwise.
Venango County Juvenile Expungements
When a person faces a criminal charge or is arrested prior to their 18th birthday, the county will likely classify this as a juvenile record. Contrary to popular belief, these records will continue to exist long after a person's 18th birthday. These records should be expunged just as adult records should be, lest they continue to interfere with a person's life and goals. Pennsylvania thankfully allows a person a greater possibility to expunge their juvenile record. In order to expunge a juvenile record, a person's situation must conform with one of the following:
- A person was placed under court-ordered supervision, and the supervisory period has concluded, and six (6) months have passed without additional criminal matters pending.
- A person was arrested on juvenile charges, the charges have been dropped, and they do not have any other criminal matters taking place.
- A person was convicted of a juvenile offense, served their sentence, and five (5) years have passed without any further criminal proceedings against them.
- 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.
Clearing Your Criminal Record in Franklin, Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania Expungement Process in Franklin
When expunging a criminal record in Venango County, whether as an adult, juvenile or after ARD is complete or sealing a criminal record in Venango County, the Venango County Court of Common Pleas will be where the matter is addressed; located at 1168 Liberty Street, Franklin, PA 16323.
The person seeking the expungement or criminal record sealing in Venango County will be the "petitioner" in the case, and the Venango County District Attorney's Office will be the "respondent." The District Attorney's Office is located in the Venango County Courthouse; the mailing address is 1168 Liberty Street, 3rd Floor, Franklin, PA 16323.
The process for an expungement or criminal record sealing in Venango County will proceed without issue in most instances if the Venango 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 Franklin, PA, will depend on the specifics of the Venango 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 Venango County as comprehensively as possible.
Because the Venango 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 Venango County Clerk of Courts requires one (1) original pleading unlike most Pennsylvania counties, with the petitioning party being responsible for serving the Venango County District Attorney's Office.
Finding the Best Attorney for Venango County Expungement | Lawyer for Venango County Record Sealing
A person's past criminal or arrest records are not necessarily reflective of who they are as a person, however, these records will still stand in the way of any goals they may have for their career, education, or licensure as a professional. Expungement and record sealing motions are therefore crucial for these individuals. When filing an expungement, however, the court will rarely provide sufficient information to an individual attempting to conduct the motion on their own. Errors in filing can cause a person to suffer delays; even having to possibly start the process over from the beginning. An outright denial of relief can also result if the matter is not attended to properly. To reduce the likelihood of this occurring, it is best to have these motions handled by an experienced Pennsylvania expungement attorney who can help make the process go smoothly and maximize the chances of success.
If you or a loved one is seeking an expungement or record sealing in Franklin or Venango County, PA, contact attorney Joseph D. Lento today.