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Juvenile criminal records are not automatically expunged once the offender is no longer subject to the Juvenile Court’s jurisdiction. To get the records expunged, the offender files a Petition for Expungement with the Juvenile Court in the county in which the offense was committed. A hearing is then scheduled before a judge to determine it the request for expungement should be granted. The court will order the records expunged if:
1.The original charges were dismissed or not proven true.
2. Six months have passed since the successful completion of a consent decree (a pretrial program where the case will be dropped if the offender successfully completes terms and conditions as set by a judge or juvenile master).
3. Five years have elapsed since the offender was released from the jurisdiction of Juvenile Court and no other charges have been filed against him.
In addition, the petition may be granted under circumstances where less than five years have elapsed. The court can order records to be expunged when the offender is over 18 and the district attorney consents to the expungement. Before ordering the expungement, the judge must weigh factors such as the gravity of the offense, the age of the offender, any further criminal history, adult and juvenile, the adverse consequences to the juvenile if expungement is not granted and the public’s interest in having the records maintained.
If your son was in a pre-trial diversion program, he would be eligible to apply for expungement now. If not, it appears under the Pennsylvania criminal code that he would have to wait up to 5 years from the date of his release to apply for expungement without re-offending. However, in certain circumstances, the petition may be granted where less than 5 years have passed if the offender is over 18 and agrees to the expungement. I would suggest you seek the advice of a local criminal defense attorney who is experienced in the area of juvenile expungement, as they can provide you with a lot more information on how the process works.
In answer to your second question, I would need to know what the exact charge was and what they are threatening to sue you for, to be able to give you any idea what the statute of limitations is on a civil case (typically it's between 4-6 years from the date of injury, but that can vary from state to state). In any case, I know of no way for anyone to extend the statute of limitations, which are set out in the state statutes.
I wish you the best of luck moving forward.
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