The Mazza Law Group, P.C.
2790 W. College Ave., Suite 800
State College, PA 16801 March 10, 2016
(814) 237-6255

Will my juvenile record be automatically expunged?

Many people have the mistaken belief that their juvenile record is expunged when they reach the age of 18.  While juvenile records are not available to the general public, your record is not automatically wiped clean at the age of 18, and records of charges, adjudications and dispositions can be maintained and viewed by law enforcement, court officials, and others with authorization.  Therefore, you may want to apply for an expungement of your juvenile record if eligible.

What is an expungement?  If granted by the court, it means that the records related to the charges will be destroyed and your record would be cleared.  This can include police reports, charging documents, and the probation department’s file.  Essentially, there would be no permanent record that you had been to court or that you had even been charged in the case.  This can be vitally important as you apply for college admission, student loans, enlistment in the military, a professional license, or employment.

If you have been to court on a juvenile delinquency matter in Pennsylvania, you may be eligible to have the juvenile records of the charges, arrest and court disposition expunged.  The answer to the question of whether you are entitled to an expungement, and when you may receive it, will depend on the disposition of any juvenile charges that were brought against you.[1]

Juvenile Record

If the charges resulted in an Informal Adjustment, you are eligible to apply for an expungement six months after successful completion of the conditions of the agreement, as long as you have no juvenile or adult charges pending.

If the charges resulted in a Consent Decree, you are eligible to apply for an expungement six months following final discharge from the program, as long as you have no juvenile or adult charges pending.

If the charges resulted in a Conviction for a Summary Offense (other than underage drinking), you are eligible to apply for an expungement upon reaching the age of 18, if at least six months have passed since you completed the terms and conditions of the sentence you received.  You must also have no juvenile record adjudications or adult convictions, and must not have any pending charges.

If the charges resulted in a Conviction for Underage Drinking, you are entitled to apply for an expungement upon reaching the age of 18, if at least six months have passed since you completed the terms and conditions of the sentence you received, including the resulting license suspension.  Your expungement would include criminal history information and the PaDOT record of your suspension.

If the charges resulted in an Adjudication of Delinquency for an offense which would be classified as a crime if committed by an adult[2], you are entitled to apply for an expungement five years after the final discharge from any disposition of your charges, as long as you have had no further adjudications or convictions, and no charges are pending.

Finally, even if you are not otherwise eligible for an expungement of your juvenile record, the District Attorney in the county of your adjudication could consent to an expungement, subject to the court’s consideration.

It is definitely in your best interest to obtain an expungement if you are entitled to one.  The experienced criminal attorneys at the Mazza Law Group can help you determine if you are eligible to have your juvenile record expunged. We can start the process for you right away.  Don’t wait until you are applying for a job or a student loan, call now!

[1] 18 Pa. C.S.A. § 9123

[2] Some sex offenses are not eligible for expungement if they were committed after the age of fourteen.

Teen Attacker Charged as an Adult – Pennsylvania’s Juvenile Criminal Defense Laws

State College, PA | Juvenile Criminal Defense Attorneys | The Mazza Law GroupA Franklin, Pennsylvania, high school student went on a knife-wielding attack in April, leaving 21 students and one security guard badly injured. The attacker used two 8-inch knives to bludgeon and slash his way through the school, before police finally stopped and arrested the 16-year-old young man. He will be tried as an adult and likely spend the rest of his life inside the Pennsylvania criminal system.

The news of this bloody knife attack shook the entire Pittsburgh and State College areas, as well as the nation, with its brutality. The fact that the assailant will be tried as an adult once again brought national attention to the state’s penal code. The juvenile court system in Pennsylvania has not received much favorable press in the past, especially following allegations that two Luzerne County judges received million-dollar kickbacks for imposing harsh sentences on juvenile offenders.

Despite the debate, Pennsylvania laws are clear: this act of violence exceeds the state’s definition of a child’s “delinquent act.

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Pennsylvania School Zone Mandatory Sentence Unconstitutional and Unseverable

Mandatory Minimum Sentence Rejected | Central Pennsylvania criminal defense attorneys | The Mazza Law Group, P.C.The Altoona Mirror reported that Blair County Judges reached a 4-2 vote rejecting the state’s mandatory sentence laws, specifically those imposing minimum sentences.  This decision comes following the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Alleyne v. United States, ruling that a jury should decide whether certain factors have been proven to trigger a mandatory sentence.

If this trial decision stands on appeal we can expect legislative action soon.  This decision may have an impact on cases that involve crimes committed within a school zone or crimes committed with a deadly weapon, which can carry mandatory minimum sentences.  When invoked, a mandatory minimum removes the discretionary authority of a judge to impose a sentence that best suits the needs of a particular offender and protection of the public.

If you or someone you know has pending criminal charges that involve the possibility of a mandatory minimum sentence, please contact an attorney at The Mazza Law Group, P.C. to see how this recent decision may apply.
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Instagram Account Attacks Criminal Trial Witnesses in Pennsylvania

Instagram Account Abuses Witnesses | State College, PA Criminal Defense Attorneys | The Mazza Law Group, P.C.Social media has infiltrated nearly every facet of our lives, especially those of the younger generation. Some of this inclusion is for the good, while some of the roles social media has played have been shocking.

One such negative use of social media recently caught national attention, affecting criminal law in Pennsylvania.

An anonymous Instagram account has aimed to expose and intimidate violent crime victims in southeastern Pennsylvania. The account was removed from Instagram in November.

The user, hiding behind the name “rats215,” had almost 7,900 followers, posted more than 150 photos, and revealed more than 30 witnesses since February 2013, according to Mashable.Continue Reading

Cyber-Bullying Leads to Preteen’s Suicide

juvenile criminal defense attorneys State College PA PennsylvaniaAs a juvenile criminal defense attorney in State College, Pennsylvania, I am well aware of the dangers of cyber-bulling and the life-altering effects such emotional battery can have on a child’s psyche.

A recent story from The New York Times highlights a girl, attacked and abused over social media by her middle school peers, jumping to her death from atop a platform of an abandoned cement plant.

Police are considering filing charges against the middle school students who terrorized the girl with abusive text messages.

Rebecca Ann Sedwick is just the latest member of a growing list of children and teens driven to suicide after apparent bullying online.Continue Reading