Expungment (HELP:MLP)

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Expungment (HELP:MLP)

  1. 1. EXPUNGEMENT Finding out if you’re eligible, what to do if you’re eligible, and how to file for expungement.
  2. 2. What is expungement?  A legal process by which some criminal offenses can be removed from a criminal record.  An expunged offense will not show up on a criminal background check.  The expunged offense will, however, still be available to courts and law enforcement officials.
  3. 3. Helpful Definitions and Explanations  Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (ARD) An ARD program is a pre-trial intervention program.  Ordinarily available only for first-time offenders; must be for a minor offense like some summary and court cases. ARD programs are not an option for more serious offenses.  The offender must apply for ARD to the District Attorney’s Office.
  4. 4.  ARD, Cont’d  For Delaware County, the address for the D.A.’s Office is 201 W. Front Street, Media, PA 19063. Contact either Louis Stesis, Chief of ARD (610-891-4193) or James Miller, Supervisor of ARD (610-891-4183).
  5. 5.  court case - this describes misdemeanors and some other cases heard before the Pa. Court of Common Pleas  primary case - this refers to the court case you want to expunge  summary case/offense - a minor crime that can tried before a judge without a jury. Some examples under Title 18 include:  Criminal mischief causing less than $150 in damage - §3304  “Shoplifting” - retail theft when first offense and less than $150 stolen - §3929  Passing or issuing a bad check worth less than $200 - §4105  Disorderly conduct if there is no intent to cause harm and/or no reasonable warning to desist - §5503
  6. 6.  Examples of summary offenses, cont’d  Public drunkeness - §5505  Misrepresentation of age to get liquor, if first offense §6307  “Underage drinking” - purchase, possession, consumption, or transport of alcohol by a minor, if first offense - §6308  “Fake ID” - carrying a false identification card, if first offense - §6310.3  “Littering” - scattering rubish when not the owner/operator of a trash truck - §6501  Keeping library property after notice to return for more than 30 days - §6708  Illegal use of shopping carts or laundry carts - §6712
  7. 7.  disposition - the court’s final determination or ruling on a charge  pro se - Representing yourself without a lawyer. The court is unlikely to give help or special treatment to a pro se party.  A client may have to appear in court. The client will be expected to know and follow that court’s procedure and rules. When appearing in court, dress professionally.
  8. 8. There are a variety of circumstances in which expungement is available. Three common bases for seeking expungement are: • Successful completion of an ARD program (Pa. R. Crim. P. 320) • Summary cases (Pa. R. Crim. P. 490) • Court cases (Pa. R. Crim. P. 790)
  9. 9. Eligibility for Accelerated Rehabilitative Dispositions (ARD) • Satisfactory completion of ARD program for the offense you want expunged and • Full payment of all required fees and costs. • However, there are some offenses that despite successful completion of an ARD program, expungement is unavailable.
  10. 10. • If the victim was under 18 years old, expungement is unavailable where the offense relates to: • • • • • • • • Rape Statutory sexual assault Involuntary deviate sexual intercourse Sexual assault Aggravated indecent assault Indecent exposure Prostitution and related offenses Obscene and other sexual materials and performances
  11. 11. Eligibility for Summary Offenses • Three scenarios • 1) If client pled guilty or was convicted of a summary offense and client meets the 5 year requirement: • Client has not been arrested or prosecuted for any crime in any county for 5 years after the summary offense he or she wishes to expunge.
  12. 12. • 2) Client has successfully completed an alternative punishment program for that offense. • 3) The offense was otherwise dismissed.
  13. 13. Eligibility for Court Cases • Five scenarios • 1) There is no record of a disposition by the court within 18 months of arrest for that offense, it is verified that no disposition is available, and no action is pending for that offense. • 2) A court orders the expungement of that offense.
  14. 14. • 3) Client is at least 21 years old, the case was a conviction for underage drinking (including purchase, possession, consumption or transport) or minor’s law, and client has completed all terms and conditions of the sentence imposed.
  15. 15. • 4) Client is at least 70 years old and has not been arrested or prosecuted for 10 years after his or her final release from confinement or supervision. • 5) Client is filing for expungment on behalf of someone who has been deceased for at least 3 years.
  16. 16. Additional circumstances where expungement may be sought: • Juvenile records. • Non-conviction • The Controlled Substance, Drug, Device, and Cosmetic Act: • Charge withdrawn or dismissed. • Acquitted of charge.
  17. 17. Juvenile Records • The general rule is that juvenile court proceedings are not open to the public. • This information is limited to the court’s judges, staff, and officers, the parties involved and their counsel, custodial agencies or institutions, and other necessary professionals. • Depending on the offense, however, some information is in fact open to the public.
  18. 18. Expunging records of juvenile delinquency • The offender or parent/guardian of offender files a motion with the court. • The juvenile record can be expunged if the court finds (the following are several examples): • (1) a complaint against the offender is unsubstantiated, or the court dismisses the complaint and accompanying petition • (1.1) a filed allegation was not approved for prosecution
  19. 19. • …if the court finds… (cont’d) • (1.2) It has been 6 months since the offender successfully completed an informal adjustment, and no adjudication/conviction proceeding is pending • (2) It has been 6 months since final discharge from supervision, under a consent decree or diversion program, and no adjudication/conviction proceeding is pending
  20. 20. • …if the court finds… (cont’d) • (4) the District Attorney agrees to expunge and the court orders expungement after weighing these factors: • Type of offense • Age, criminal activity, employment history, and any drug/alcohol problems • “Adverse consequences the individual may suffer if the records are not expunged,” and • Whether keeping the record is necessary to protect public safety.
  21. 21. Non-conviction • A simple acquittal on the charge allows for expungement of the related criminal record. • If the defendant is not convicted, but not wholly acquitted, expungement depends on the circumstances. • Typically, the burden is on the state to show compelling evidence of why the record should be retained despite the lack of a conviction.
  22. 22. Under The Controlled Substance, Drug, Device, and Cosmetic Act • Save for a few exceptions, any records of arrest or prosecution under the Act are to be expunged from an individual’s criminal record if: • The charge is withdrawn or dismissed (counts for nol pros) or • He or she is acquitted of that charge.
  23. 23. Filing for Expungement  Locate your criminal records.  Necessary documents and forms.  Where to file for the expungement.
  24. 24. Criminal Records • Some information you will need to know: – The crimes you were charged with – The date of the arrest • Other information depends on the nature of the offense you are seeking expungement for.
  25. 25. How to Obtain Records • Visit the Pa. State Police website – There is a $10.00 fee to access the records • If an attorney represented your client, the client can contact the attorney; the attorney should have accurate records of the offenses he or she represented the client for. – Attorney may charge a fee for copies
  26. 26. Necessary Documents and Forms • A cover sheet • The proper expungement form (will depend on whether it is for a summary case, court case, etc.) • The filing fee (may vary per county). • A current (obtained no more than 60 days before actual filing) copy of client’s PA State Police criminal record
  27. 27. Some information likely needed for the form: • Your client’s name (and any aliases), address, date of birth, SS number. • Docket number. • The disposition of the charge or case, along with any penalty, such as fines and costs. • Reason(s) for expungement
  28. 28. Where to File • The paperwork for your expungement must be filed with: – The office of the prothonotary for the county where the offense was committed. • A copy of the paperwork must also be filed with: – The District Attorney’s Office for the county where the offense was committed.
  29. 29. • Offense committed in Delaware County: – Office of Judicial Support Government Center, Room 126 201 W. Front Street Media, PA 19063 – Phone: 610-891-4370
  30. 30. Delaware County D.A.’s Office • Office of the District Attorney Delaware County Court House 201 W. Front St. Media, PA 19063 • Phone: 610-891-4162 • Hours: 8:30 am - 4:30 pm, MondayFriday
  31. 31. • Offense committed in Philadelphia County: – Office of the Prothonotary First Judicial District of Pennsylvania Room 284, City Hall Philadelphia, PA 19107 – Phone: 215-686-6652 – Hours: 9:00 am - 5:00 pm, Monday - Friday
  32. 32. Philadelphia D.A.’s Office • Office of the District Attorney 3 S. Penn Square Philadelphia, PA 19107 • Phone: 215-686-8000
  33. 33. • Offense committed in Chester County: – Chester County Prothonotary 201 W. Market Street, Suite 1425 P.O. Box 2746 West Chester, PA 19380 – Phone: 610-344-6300 – Hours: 8:30 am - 4:30 pm, Monday - Friday
  34. 34. Chester County D.A.’s Office • Office of the District Attorney 201 W. Market St., Suite 4450 P.O. Box 2746 West Chester, PA 19380 • Phone: 610-344-6801 • Hours: 8:30 am - 4:30 pm, Monday Friday
  35. 35. Once filing is completed    Summary and Court Cases: The District Attorney’s Office has 30 days to file a consent, an objection, or take no action. After a judge receives the D.A.’s response, the judge will grant or deny the petition, or the judge will schedule a hearing.
  36. 36. If a hearing is scheduled:   The parties will be given an opportunity to be heard. Your client will want to show the judge that he or she is responsible, deserving of the requested expungement, and will not be a risk of future offenses.
  37. 37. Grant or Denial of expungement   Granting expungement is up to the judge. It is at his or her discretion. A denial can be appealed, but the reviewing court will review for an abuse of discretion. (This weighs in favor of the trial court judge.)

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