Expungement Process

gavelThere is confusion that surrounds the concept of Juvenile Records.
Do I have one?, What is it?, How can I get rid of it?,
are questions often asked of the County.

This information will attempt to answer these questions


Official Juvenile Records

Official Juvenile Records are the Petitions, Court Orders, and Court Dockets that are created when a child is adjudicated delinquent in Court by a Judge. Many children that have contact with Juvenile Court don’t have official juvenile records. Children placed on Informal Adjustments or Consent Decrees along with children ordered to pay fines and costs are not adjudicated delinquent and would not have an official record. But, even though an official record does not exist, evidence of their involvement with the Court will exist in the Juvenile Clerk of Courts, the Juvenile Probation Office, and the referring agency (usually a Police Department). While this evidence of involvement is generally confidential, certain agencies of the State, Federal, and Local governments will have access to it. When enlisting in the armed services or seeking a security clearance, this information will be made available. Further involvement with the Courts as an adult will also allow release of this information.

What is my record?
You are entitled to know exactly what your record is. You may receive this information by contacting the Juvenile Probation Department or Juvenile Clerk of Courts at the address and numbers listed at the end of this brochure. To avoid potential confidentiality issues, this information may only be released in person with presentation of appropriate photo I.D. This information may also be released to your attorney or other personal representative with valid releases signed by you. Potential employers (other than those governmental agencies mentioned previously), landlords, or school officials will not have access to these records unless they are deemed public information. 

How can I erase my record?
The official term for this is expungement. This is a process by which Common Pleas Judges determines that erasing your record would suit the common good. This decision would be based on the charges, your behavior since the involvement, your present life situation, and any special considerations you may suggest.

THIS IS NOT AN AUTOMATIC PROCEDURE!!

It will not happen unless you take affirmative steps to make it happen. The procedure begins with a Petition and Court Order sent to the Juvenile Clerk of Courts by you or your legal representative. This will outline all of your involvement with the Court, your life since that involvement, any special considerations, and the reasons why it would suit the common good. Please note that this legal presentation would be best handled by lawyers or other legal experts familiar with the form and nature of the Petition and Court Order. Please also note that the guidelines for this suggests that the child be presently at least twenty one (21) years of age and that five (5) years have elapsed since the last contact with the Court. After the Petition is received, the District Attorney’s Office reviews it and determines if it will agree with your Petition or oppose it. If the District Attorney agrees, the Judge will sign the Court Order and the record is expunged. If the District Attorney opposes it, the matter will be scheduled for a hearing and the Judge will decide, after hearing all facts, if the record will be expunged.

Closed or Sealed Records

Many people are surprised to find that some or all their record may be available to certain parties or the public. In recent years, changes to the law have given the public access to Juvenile Court that previously did not exist. Information is publicly available for children fourteen (14) years or older who are charged with felony offenses. Also, children twelve (12) or thirteen (13) who commit offenses of Murder, Voluntary Manslaughter, Aggravated Assault, Arson, Involuntary Deviate Sexual Intercourse, Kidnapping, Rape, Robbery, or Robbery of a Motor Vehicle have their case publicly available.

Expungement List
Many children are placed on what is known as our expungement lists. This is a concession granted by the District Attorney at the time of hearing NOT TO OPPOSE expungement at some specific time. When you are placed on this list, you are given the specific time (two (2) years, three (3) years, etc). This in itself does NOT EXPUNGE THE RECORD. It is a promise by the District Attorney not to oppose expungement when the time elapses. You still MUST take the steps enumerated above to erase your record.

Questions
Your questions are best answered by the attorney who represented you at your hearing.