Q: How did I obtain a copy of the criminal complaint or the accusatory instrument in the state of PA for my case which is over. I applied for NY state security guard license and the division of licensing is asking for these documents from 2010. (Buffalo, NY)
A: If this occurred after 1986 and you can negotiate the PA Uniform Judicial System website, you might be able to find your original charges. If the case went beyond the preliminary hearing to the Court of Common Pleas level, you can contact the county Clerk of Courts office and ask if they can send you a copy by mail. There may be a fee. If you were not found guilty of the offense, you can expunge it, so it disappears from all reputable criminal records repositories. Even if found guilty or you pleaded guilty to a summary offense, certain summary offenses can now be expunged.
Q: I received a misdemeanor under the Drug and cosmetic Act for Pa State Board of Nursing. For my first offense, I was offered an ARD. I checked my criminal court record numbers, they stated NO RECORDS EXIST. I am job seeking, worried about my record and decided to Google myself. There it is, my name, license number, offense, and punishment of 1-year suspension listed. WTF? This will prevent me from getting a job and now I must explain my misdemeanor. Isn’t that what the auto expungement was for as stated. I paid my fine in full, finished my probation of 3 months. It is over, the 1-year probation as well starting 4/20/16 to 4/20/17. Why are they listing it still? What gives? I do realize the state board and criminal court are two different entities. I just don’t know what I didn’t’ do correct. Will it go away ever? Please advise. Thank you. (Pittsburgh, PA)
A: It sounds like you successfully completed ARD in Allegheny County and the DA expunged your record for you. Your expungement removes all records from criminal data bases such as Allegheny County, the Bureau of Criminal Information, the Uniform Judicial System, the PA State Police and the FBI. There is no way for the expungement order to reach the hundreds of criminal record search websites proliferating the internet. It is possible that one or more than one of them have your arrest record posted. You can send them a certified letter demanding them to remove it or correct it. It is most likely that a future employer in PA will run your record through the PA State Police and not rely on any of the hundreds of rogue websites that provide this “service.” You can always answer, I was never convicted of a crime, truthfully. If asked were you ever arrested, you will have to say yes. Additionally, if the state board took some action against you, that has nothing to do with criminal court. That information is controlled by whatever board you are licensed by. If their disciplinary action against you was posted on the internet, you must ask them why so and how to remove it.
Q: I live in Pennsylvania and was attending a wedding California in October 2016. After the arrest, I hired a Sonoma lawyer. I am being told to accept informal probation and I am curious how this could affect my life in PA. Is it public record? Also, I am going through a messy divorce with an 8-year-old so I don’t want this used against me. Thank You. (Pittsburgh, PA)
A: You need to determine if you are entering a plea agreement for a first-time offender’s program that leaves you with no criminal record, like ARD in PA. If that is not the case, my best guess is that you will have a criminal record for a DUI which will be part of a national database. PA will know about it. There is a law called the Interstate Compact, through which all states share information. Also, any driver’s licensing penalties related to a DUI conviction in CA will be imposed by PA. I think you need to call the CA attorney and verify more details as to your plea agreement.