Criminal Records, Expungement What else do I need to do to get my summary offense record expunged?


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I live in Pennsylvania, and that is also the state where the summary offense was charged. I received a summary offense citation nearly six years ago and was convicted. In recent years Pennsylvania passed a law permitting people convicted of summary offenses to apply for expungement of their summary offense record if they stay arrest-free for at least five years from the date of the conviction. Thus, I recently applied for expungement (the packet consists of an expungement petition form, certificate of service, and state criminal background check) and more recently received confirmation that my expungement be granted, in the form of a court order signed and notarized by a judge. The court order for granting the expungement states that all records pertaining to this summary offense be destroyed by the criminal justice agencies served. It was signed by the judge two days ago (April 30).

However, when I searched for the summary offense docket sheet online (on the Pennsylvania Magisterial website), it is still there, still showing a "guilty" disposition from 5-6 years ago.

Now that I have received a court order granting the expungement, what are my next steps to make sure the expungement gets completed so that dockets pertaining to this are no longer showing up on background checks and on the Pennsylvania Magisterial website? Does it happen automatically (or at least without any action on my part) after the court order is granted?…which means I just have to be patient and wait for the Magisterial website to update (i.e., remove my summary offense docket sheet)? Or do I need to make copies of the court order and send them out? I have no information on who to send them out, as none of this was outlined on the county's online instructions for the summary offense expungement application process; the instructions stopped after mailing in the expungement application packet. Is there anything else I need to do to make sure this process is completed?? Thanks in advance.
If you deal with the court system, you know that nothing ever happens to your benefit within minutes after the judge signs off on it. ;) Let's assume that a judge signed off on the order. You're talking about one business day (May 1) after the order within which you expect the documents to move to a clerk and to move to those persons responsible for expunging all the information? I completely understand your enthusiasm for being able to get this removed from your record. It's harsher than it can seem and the wait may seem like an eternity. But I suggest you give it some time before beginning to start contacting people in the court system as to why you're not seeing zealous results. You don't want them to lose the paperwork, now, do you? :) Cross the bridge if and when you need to after some reasonable time. Good luck and glad to hear your good news.
Thank you, and I understand these things take time. I was actually surprised to get such a timely response, especially given what a hot mess that county is in general with paperwork and stuff. My concern isn't with patiently waiting, it's with making sure I am not missing any steps or neglecting to do something on my part. (For example, I would not want to patiently wait a whole year just to find out that nothing had gotten started with the expungement/shredding of my record because I was supposed to send something somewhere and I hadn't) I had a few friends who went through the post-ARD expungement process (this was back when individuals on ARD were responsible for doing the expungement paperwork themselves; since 2012, PA changed it and now apparently ARD records get expunged automatically), and I remember them telling me that receiving the judge's court order granting the expungement was only the second step in the process, and that they had to mail out copies of the court order to various agencies. So that is why I am writing on here, to make sure I don't miss any steps, so as not to further delay my expungement.
OK - I understand. I was under the impression that they had provided you with next steps and just said "it's all automatic, don't worry." While criminal law isn't my specialty, I assisted other counsel at times. In many circumstances, you'll need to serve parties responsible for removing information from their records. In civil court little happens automatically too even after a decision is rendered, e.g. filing judgments, etc. Hence when I hear "automatically" I'm skeptical although much keeps changing, such as e-filing requirements, etc. I'd contact the court clerk to make sure that they are actually doing all the legwork. I'd ask them what "automatically" actually means - perhaps with regard to actual filing requirements with the clerk of the court. You may need to order certified copies and send them to each agency, including filing as well. The easiest way to draw the shortest line is to call the clerk on Monday and confirm.
Thank you and I will be sure to do that. I will call the county clerk of courts first thing on Monday morning.

Just to clarify, I never saw the word "automatic" associated with any paperwork (online or otherwise) concerning the summary offense expungement process. I did, however, see either the word "automatic" or a related synonym associated with the ARD criminal record expungement process that occurs after an individual successfully completes an ARD program. In the past, people in my state on ARD had to file paperwork for an expungement, wait for a district attorney to approve it, serve the judge, wait for a judge to approve it, and then serve copies of the court papers to each and every criminal record reporting agency. It was a long process that apparently took up to a year to successfully complete. In 2012, however, all of that changed because PA passed a law stating that anyone who successfully completed ARD (for programs initiated after the law went into effect in late 2012) would not have to go through all the legwork of completing the post-ARD expungement process, that it would be done for them as a default benefit of completing ARD with no troubles. As far as the summary offense expungement process goes: I do not know what is involved every step of the way with the expungement process, since the detailed instructions on the county court's website only gives directions up to the point of mailing in the initial expungement packet to the courthouse. If I am responsible for mailing out copies of the judge's court order, I do not know where I would even start with that, as there's no directions posted online. I do know, however, that after I sent in the expungement paperwork packet to the clerk of courts, the packet was then served directly to the district attorney's office and then to the judge, without me having to do anything else or notify the judge myself. So that has me wondering if perhaps my role in this process is done? But I understand that my best bet is to call the clerk of courts on Monday to inquire. I guess I was just hoping someone could tell me ahead of time, as Monday is a few days away! (You can probably tell I'm trying to get this summary offense put behind me once and for all, as the ticket itself was something I never agreed with but went along with anyway just to avoid further trouble)
LOL, yes I can see you eager for Monday to arrive. Every courthouse is different. Unless you're speaking to someone who has completed exactly what you wish at the same courthouse, you aren't assured of getting the best answer as it applies to you - especially with regard to setting expectations. Get a name of whom you spoke to, record the date, what you were told and you've got the best information you can have with the ability to request someone help you in the event you need some personal attention at a future date. Courts love organized people who are courteous, have a legitimate concern and can represent that someone directly relevant provided the speaker with information. Good luck and let us know how it turns out!
Thank you very much for all of your help and responses! :) You are absolutely right that it often takes a while to get a hold of someone who knows for sure the facts, and who could help me. Heck, the reason it took me longer than need be to file for this expungement was because I literally waited an entire month to no avail, just to get one of the court offices to answer a simple question I had, concerning a special situation with my expungement case (e.g., defendant's name change). It took me finally being assertive on the 4th or 5th call, finally telling them that all of the voicemails I'd left when they'd forwarded my call to voicemail never got back to me, before they realized how long I'd been waiting for a simple answer to a question, and told me the info I needed to know so I could move forward. So I realize it will probably take a few times to really find out what's going on. Perhaps in the meantime if I'm lucky, the record will already be getting expunged. But I really like the idea you said about documenting everything with the phone call! Thanks again!