Many people believe that anything that happens in a juvenile court cannot be seen after the charges are dropped or the requirements of a punishment have been fulfilled. Unfortunately, this is not entirely accurate.

Although juvenile records are not as easy to access as adult criminal records, people can still learn about the an adjudication of delinquency and cause the person with the record to suffer associated consequences. Potential employers can still find out about a juvenile record that has not been sealed through a background check. This may affect potential job placement, college and training opportunities, and eligibility for the military.

Furthermore, if a person has an adjudication of delinquency on their record, a conviction of a crime as an adult can be viewed with much more seriousness. They may be forced to have a longer incarceration or probation time and receive overall harsher sentences. Some juvenile adjudications lead to one being banned from ever owning a firearm. Others can even affect your credit score.

How to get your record expunged in Pennsylvania

A Pennsylvania criminal expungement is beneficial because it essentially erases a criminal record. This is different than simply sealing the record from public access, in that no traces of the crime are supposed to remain open and available. After a juvenile record is expunged, all documentation related to the arrest, adjudication, and disposition is destroyed. All police reports, probation reports, fingerprints, photographs, court records, and other documentation will be disposed of when any agency or criminal repository is presented with a copy of the expungement order.

If you petition the court for an expungement, it will most likely be approved for any of the following conditions:

  • Charges were dismissed by the court or were never substantiated after charges were filed;
  • More than six months have passed since your supervision by the juvenile courts has ended and there are no current proceedings pending against you;
  • Five years or more have passed since you were adjudicated delinquent, and you have since never been convicted of a felony, misdemeanor, or juvenile offense;
  • You are over the age of 18 and have never been arraigned or convicted of any other felony or misdemeanor since, even it has not yet been five years.

If you qualify under the former reasons for a juvenile record expungement, you must file a motion stating this intention with the court that handled your juvenile case. This can sometimes be a very complicated process, as legal procedures must be followed exactly to fully comply with statutory requirements for expungement. I am not aware of an expungement in Pennsylvania happens automatically, so you must do this yourself or hire an attorney to do it for you.

The best way to ensure that an expungement will be filed properly and have the best chance for success is to hire an attorney to do the process for you. An experienced Philadelphia criminal attorney will have the ability to do this efficiently, and give you the best probability that the expungement will be granted. If you would like to get a juvenile record expunged in Pennsylvania, contact Mike Fienman today to discuss your options in a free legal consultation.

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