Juvenile Record Expungement Attorney
Clearing a Juvenile Record in West Chester PA
Whether you or a parent or guardian looking after the welfare of your child after they have been in the juvenile court system or an adult looking to clear or expunge their past youthful indiscretions, it is important to understand your rights in regards to a juvenile record. It is probably a mistake that a juvenile record is necessarily confidential or sealed or that that it is automatically expunged or cleared when you become an adult.
Having a clear juvenile record is pretty obvious and parallels the need to have a clear adult record as any time of criminal record can impact your reputation in the community, your ability to get and maintain a job, personal self worth, and family relationships.
Do you have a Chester County Juvenile Record or a juvenile delinquency history in Chester County, Philadelphia or anywhere in Pennsylvania? Get legal advice and help now on expunging your juvenile record by contacting an aggressive lawyer experienced in obtaining Juvenile Expungement. Contact us by EMAIL or call us at (610) 692-8700.
Is A Juvenile Expungement Really Automatic?
A juvenile record, whether it occurred in Chester County or else where in Pennsylvania, is not automatically destroyed and the erasure of your juvenile history requires the filing of an expungement Petition in the Court of Common Pleas where the original juvenile offenses occurred. (ie. File a Juvenile Expungement in Chester County if you were adjudicated delinquent of juvenile offenses in Chester County).
In many situations, a juvenile record is available to a college or university; an employer, and the military and the impact of a juvenile record long outlasts your youth as it can impact your education, the type of job skills you can obtain, and your employment.
You may find that it is too difficult to file a juvenile expungement on your own and you may be best served by speaking with an experienced Juvenile Expungement Attorney. Once a petition has been filed to expunged your juvenile record, the court will consider:
- whether the charges were unsubstantiated or dismissed;
- whether six months have passed since your final discharge from supervision under a consent decree without any new or pending juvenile or adult charges;
- five years have passed your final discharge from commitment without any new or pending juvenile or adult charges; or
- you have turned 18 years of age and the prosecutor has agreed to the expungement.
Can Juvenile Cases be Expunged or Sealed?
Do you have questions about a Pennsylvania juvenile record or a juvenile delinquency in Pennsylvania and need legal advice and help? It is only natural to look for a team of experienced lawyers who understand juvenile law, appreciate the impact a juvenile delinquency can have on a young person and their family; and have the desire to help them to get the best possible outcomes. Learn more by contacting the juvenile law attorneys at Ciccarelli Law Offices.
According to the 2015 Pennsylvania Juvenile Court Dispositions there were 24,139 delinquency-related dispositions in the state in 2015. Across the state, secure detention admissions actually declined from 2014 to 2015. As far as the most dispositions of any age group, seventeen-year-olds took top “honors,” followed by sixteen-year-olds. Juveniles whose biological parents were not married represented almost half of all juvenile delinquencies in the state—only about 17 percent of juvenile delinquencies were among youth who resided with both biological parents. White youth represented about 45.8 percent of all Pennsylvania delinquency dispositions in 2015, followed by black youth at 36.7 percent and Hispanic youth at 12.8 percent.
Juvenile Court Records
Juvenile court files (42 Pa.C.S. §6307, 42 Pa.C.S. §6308 and 42 Pa.C.S. §6309) include all original records, all copies of court notices, all docket entries and all papers and orders filed. Juvenile court files are maintained by the Clerk of Courts and can only be removed from the Clerk of Courts under a court order. Juvenile probation records and reports include psychiatric and psychological evaluations, school records and reports, social summaries, personal histories, drug and alcohol evaluations, mental health reports and histories, and records and reports related to placement facilities. Juvenile court files as well as juvenile probation records are open to:
- Court staff
- Juvenile probation officers
- The attorney for the juvenile
- The Commonwealth attorney
- Any public or private institution or agency which provides supervision of the juvenile or who has custody of the juvenile
- The Administrative Office of the Pennsylvania Courts
- Any officer, judge or professional staff of a court in another jurisdiction when the records are necessary to discharge official duties
- Department of Corrections officials
- Parole boards
- Court or county probation officials
- The Pennsylvania State Sexual Offenders Assessment Board
- Any person, agency or institution who has a legitimate interest in the proceedings so long as leave of the court is obtained.
How Do Courts Determine Who Can See a Juvenile Record?
When the court receives a petition to look at a juvenile record, the court must consider the purpose for which the information will be used, the nature of the original offense, the impact the release of the information could potentially have on both the juvenile as well as the community, the nature of the information requested, and the administration or legislative authority governing the release of the information (42 Pa.C.S. §6352.2).
Can Juvenile Criminal Records be Used for Criminal Sentencing Purposes?
When calculating a prior record score used in the Sentencing Guidelines, only specific adjudications of delinquency can be counted, specifically those which occurred on or after the 14th birthday of the juvenile and if the court expressly found the adjudication related to a felony or to a misdemeanor 1 offense listed in 204 Pennsylvania Code Section 303.7 (a)(4). Under the above guidelines, four points are added for each prior adjudication of delinquency for: ethnic intimidation to any felony 1 offense, offenses with an Offense Gravity Score of 11 or greater, murder of an unborn child, murder, attempted murder, conspiracy to commit murder and all other completed crimes of violence, sexual assault, aggravated indecent assault and violations of prohibited acts add three points, felony 2 offenses, including felony drug offenses add two points and misdemeanor 1 offenses which involve weapons or involve death or danger to children or driving under the influence all add one point.
Juvenile Fingerprints, Photographs and DNA
Juvenile fingerprints and photographs are required to be kept separate from adult fingerprints and photographs; a JOTN (Juvenile Offense Tracking Number) is assigned to a juvenile’s fingerprints. Alleged and adjudicated delinquents will have their history record information, including photographs and fingerprints, delinquency charges, identifiable descriptions and dates of arrests maintained by the PSP in the Central Repository. No medical or psychiatric treatment or test information is included in juvenile history records, nor is any investigative information, intelligence information, employment history, personal history, stolen property information, wanted person information, caution indicators, modus operandi information or presentence investigation information.
Juvenile DNA samples are taken and maintained for a juvenile who is adjudicated delinquent for a felony sex offense; all DNA samples along with fingerprints are to be delivered to the PSP within 48 hours of when the DNA sample is taken. DNA samples can only be expunged if it can be shown the cases was dismissed, the DNA was mistakenly in the database or the adjudication of delinquency was reversed. This means that expungement orders must contain case-specific information and language that directs the PSP to expunge DNA records.
Aren’t Juvenile Records Automatically Expunged?
Juveniles and their parents who have gone through the experience of being charged with a juvenile criminal offense could be left wondering just how much this one juvenile transgression will alter their life—and for how long. Many people are under the mistaken belief that a juvenile offense is automatically sealed once the juvenile reaches the age of majority, however this is simply not true. Unfortunately, the reality is that records associated with your child’s involvement with the juvenile justice system can potentially have longstanding, significant consequences.
Sealing vs. Expunging a Juvenile Record
Sealing a juvenile record and expunging (18 Pa.C.S. §9123) a juvenile record are two completely different things. Sealing a record means denying the public access to the record, while expunging a record means denying the existence of the record—it is as though it never existed. Obviously, expungement is the more secure option as sealing a juvenile record allows access to a number of official uses. There are specific circumstances under which a Pennsylvania juvenile criminal record could be expunged, including:
- Charges were dismissed by the court (expungement could be granted automatically);
- A complaint was filed but not substantiated (expungement could be granted automatically);
- Six months have gone by since the final discharge, and no additional proceedings against the juvenile are pending. In this case, if the court finds no reason to deny the request for expungement, it will be granted within 30 days.
- Five years or more have elapsed since the final discharge or release from any form of supervision, disposition, referral, commitment or probation, and no felony offenses or misdemeanor offenses have been committed in the interim.
- The juvenile has reached the age of 18, even if five years have not elapsed since the end of the final discharge of the case. It is important to note that expungement is not guaranteed and that the court will consider a number of factors when determining whether expungement will be granted, including:
- What type of offense the original offense was;
- The individual’s age;
- The individual’s history of employment;
- The individual’s history of other criminal offenses;
- Any history of drug or alcohol problems;
- The potential adverse consequences the individual either has suffered or could suffer from the record being open to the public;
- Whether public safety is protected by record retention;
- Whether the expungement request was properly sent to the prosecuting attorney, and
- Whether the individual is a dependent child (all records of children who are adjudicated dependent may be expunged through a court order once the child turns 21).
Regardless of whether the court favors expungement or not, the motion for expungement must still be filed and all legal procedures properly followed. There are no automatic expungements in the state of Pennsylvania.
What Expungement Orders Must Include
Any order to expunge or destroy a juvenile court file, fingerprint cards, photographs, docket entries or law enforcement records must include every element of items to be expunged in the motion; the expungement order must include the name and signature of the judge issuing the order as well as the date of the court order. Certified copies of the expungement order must be distributed to the chief juvenile probation officer as well as any other persons or agencies as mandated by the court.
What About Driver Information?
PennDOT has generally maintained that court expungement orders do not apply to driver history records except in cases related to purchases, possession, consumption or transportation of liquor provided the person is 21 and has satisfied all terms and conditions, including driver’s license suspension. Even in this situation, PennDOT requires a court order to expunge the driver history.
See How our Team of Pennsylvania Juvenile Attorneys Can Help
If your child got into some trouble when he or she was younger, you and your child would probably like to have those records expunged. It can be extremely difficult for a young person to be hampered by a juvenile criminal record when he or she is just starting out in life. Perhaps your child wants to go to college—some colleges could potentially turn down an otherwise well-qualified student because of a juvenile criminal history. Or, perhaps your child wants to go into the military or simply wants to apply for a job. Any of these normal milestones can be significantly hampered by a juvenile criminal record. Your Pennsylvania juvenile criminal defense attorney is well-versed in expunging records and can help you and your child secure an expungement, wiping the slate clean and allowing your child to move on with his or her life.
Get the Ciccarelli Law Offices on your Side Now
If your child has been arrested and charged with a crime, the highly experienced criminal defense attorneys at the Ciccarelli Law Offices can help. We will fight aggressively for your child’s rights and their freedom. We will protect them during this difficult time and represent them aggressively throughout the criminal process. Contact the Ciccarelli Law Offices today by email or by phone at (610) 692-8700 or (877) 529-2422 immediately to begin building a solid defense against these serious charges.
Key Issues in Juvenile Defense
Juvenile Proceedings in Pennsylvania
Deferred Adjudication and the Consent Decree for Chester County Juveniles
Potential Consequences for a Juvenile Conviction in West Chester
How will Juvenile Charges Impact My College Application?
Do a need a Juvenile Attorney?
What is the Juvenile Court Process?
Will Your Child Be Prosecuted like an Adult?
What Does a Juvenile Probation Officer Do?
What’s the Difference Between a Juvenile and an Adult Prosecution?
Learn More on Clearing Your Juvenile Record
Contact our Juvenile Expungement Lawyer when you need legal advice, help and representation in clearing your record from juvenile charges, juvenile arrest, juvenile detention and juvenile probation. You deserve a Pennsylvania Juvenile lawyer that is available when you need him, treats you with respect, and protects your rights vigorously. We handle matters before Juvenile Court. Based in suburban Philadelphia at 304 North High Street, West Chester PA 19380, we make your choice all the clearer with locations throughout the metropolitan Philadelphia Pennsylvania, including Center City Philadelphia, West Chester PA, Malvern (serving Downingtown/Exton PA), Kennett Square PA, Lancaster PA, King of Prussia PA, Plymouth Meeting PA, Radnor and Springfield PA. We serve Downingtown, Paoli, Media, Norristown, Harrisburg, Lancaster, Lebanon, Reading and Allentown. For more information or to schedule an appointment by contacting us at (610) 692-8700 or toll free at (877) 529-2422. We represent juvenile clients in Chester County, Berks County, Bucks County, Lancaster County, Delaware County, Montgomery County and Philadelphia.