If you have had a protection from abuse ordered against you at any point in the state of Pennsylvania, then you might be wondering what it would take to remove that order off of your record after it ends. A protection from abuse order can limit your ability to do many things while it is active but can also have negative effects once it is over. In Pennsylvania, the record sealing and expungement process can be difficult and confusing. If you are interested in removing a protection from abuse order from your record, then it is important to speak to an experienced attorney who can help you.
What Is an Expungement?
If you want to erase evidence of a criminal conviction or certain protections from abuse orders from your public criminal record in Pennsylvania, then you must go through the expungement or record sealing process. Expungements only became available in Pennsylvania in 2015 when the state legislature finally allowed its courts to limit public access to specific convictions and other cases. Expungement and record sealing laws were expanded in 2018, allowing first-degree misdemeanors and other low-level offenses to be hidden from the public eye. Record sealing is not available for all cases, as any case that involves violence, guns, or sexual misconduct that can result in more than two years in state prison cannot be expunged or sealed. Minor convictions can be expungement after five years have passed from the end of the sentence.
Pennsylvania's sealing and expungement laws have allowed many to remove damaging convictions and other negative information from their records. If you have an expungement or record sealing question, then make sure to speak to an experienced attorney. Some government agencies, such as law enforcement or a prosecutor, can access a private database that keeps these records after sealing or expungement.
Protection From Abuse Orders Explained
If someone in Pennsylvania alleges that they have been physically or sexually abused by a family member or someone they have a domestic relationship with, they can seek court protection through a protection from abuse order. This is a restraining order that can result in the abuser getting arrested and criminally prosecuted if they violate the order. Protection from abuse orders are enforceable anywhere in Pennsylvania and the rest of the US.
What Are the Different Types of Protection From Abuse Orders?
In Pennsylvania, there are two types of orders that can protect someone from physical or sexual abuse. These are known as temporary and final orders. They both have the same authority, but they can last for different amounts of time. The difference between a temporary and final order is determined by different legal processes.
Temporary Protection from Abuse
The first type of protection from abuse order that someone can get is a temporary protection from abuse order. A physical or sexual assault victim can seek a temporary order by filling out a petition that outlines the relationship between the parties and the alleged actions of the accused. The court will conduct a hearing with just the petitioner to determine whether the temporary order should be granted.
If a judge authorizes a temporary protection from abuse order, then the court will set a date for a hearing to determine whether a final protection from abuse order will be authorized within ten days.
Final Protection from Abuse
A final protection from abuse order is more powerful than a temporary order. The final order can only be given after a full hearing. In this hearing, both sides get to say their sides of the story. The person asking for the order (the petitioner) has to show the judge that abuse or sexual violence took place and that they need protection from the court. If a judge authorizes a final protection from abuse order, then the order can be valid and enforceable for up to three years.
Expunging a Protection From Abuse From Your Criminal Record
Under Pennsylvania law, you can expunge a temporary protection from abuse order from your record, but you cannot expunge a final protection from abuse order from your record. Temporary orders are authorized after a short hearing where only the alleged victim is heard. Final orders are authorized after a full hearing where both sides are heard. This distinction is important because, theoretically, anyone can get a temporary order that is completely false where the defendant doesn't even get the opportunity to defend themselves. Final orders are considered more valid since both sides had the chance to present their cases to the court.
How an Experienced Attorney Can Help
There are different rules in Pennsylvania about pardons, record sealing, and expungement. Each state has its own individual laws and standards that determine the process and eligibility to remove negative history from its records. It is a good idea to have an experienced attorney on your side when you are seeking a record sealing or expungement. This way, you can avoid making the mistakes that many people make. You generally only get one chance to get your record cleared, so make sure you do it right the first time. If you have legal questions, then call us at the Lento Law firm today so we can help!
Why Hiring Lento Law Firm Is the Right Choice
If you are looking to seal or expunge a prior conviction or protection from abuse from your record in Pennsylvania, then having an experienced attorney on your side can help you avoid the mistakes that many make. Call the Lento Law Firm today at 888-535-3686 to learn why hiring us is the right choice to help you prepare and file your application for record sealing or expungement in Pennsylvania. You can also contact us online.