Expunge Philadelphia
Expunge Philadelphia
This is a web app created for people with Juvenile records in Philadelphia

Glossary of Terms


Adjudicated

Adjudication is the legal process by which an arbiter or judge reviews evidence and argumentation, including legal reasoning set forth by opposing parties or litigants to come to a decision which determines rights and obligations between the parties involved.

Adjudicated Delinquent

In the juvenile justice system, if you are adjudicated delinquent it means that the judge has found you guilty.

Acquittal

A jury verdict that a criminal defendant is not guilty, or the finding of a judge that the evidence is insufficient to support a conviction.

Bail

The release, prior to trial, of a person accused of a crime, under specified conditions designed to assure that person's appearance in court when required. Also can refer to the amount of bond money posted as a financial condition of pretrial release.

Case Closed

If your case was closed, you no longer have to go to court or meet with a probation officer. If you want to have your record expunged, your case must be closed and a certain amount of time must have passed.

Charges

If you are arrested or are asked to go to court, it is because the police believe that you have committed a crime. The charges explain what crime they think you committed.  If you want to have your juvenile record expunged, you cannot have any open cases or charges against you. 

Conviction

If you were charged with an adult crime and were found guilty you have been convicted of a crime and you now have a criminal record, which can be harder to expunge. Adjudications are not the same as convictions.

Dismissed

If there is not enough evidence to bring a case against you, the district attorney will drop your charges. Your case will be closed, but you will still have a juvenile record.

Disposition

The sentence or punishment the judge gives you after you have been adjudicated delinquent.  A disposition can include probation, placement, treatment, or community service.

District Attorney

The district attorney (D.A.) or prosecutor is the lawyer who works for the state and brings the case against you. Most expungements require the district attorney to agree to the expungement.

Diversion or Informal Adjustment

An arrangement the district attorney makes to keep you out of court. Even though you don’t have to go to court, you still have a record.

Expungement

An expunged record has been destroyed; it is permanently unavailable to the public. Some people may still be able to see an expunged record under a specific rule, law, or court order.

Juvenile Probation Officer

The probation officer is paid by the court to set up services for you and to report to the court about how you are doing. Probation officers check on how you are doing if you are in placement. They also check on things like whether you are following curfew rules and going to drug screens. They can help you schedule therapy, enroll in school, look for a job, and provide other services to you and your family.

Juvenile record

Your juvenile record is the official record of what happened when you were arrested and went to court. This information is kept by the court, police officers and the probation office. Your juvenile record may also include information about your family, your mental health history, and education.

Placement

After you were found guilty, the judge sentences you. The sentence, or disposition, can be placement in a residential facility or secure treatment facility.

Probation

After you are adjudicated delinquent, the judge sentences you. The sentence, or disposition, can be probation, which might require you to follow certain rules, like a curfew, attending school, going to therapy, etc. When you are on probation, the court still checks in on you to make sure you are doing what you are supposed to be doing.

Public defender

The public defender is a lawyer who is paid by the state to represent you. The lawyer works for you and fights the case against you in court. The Defender Association of Philadelphia is the public defender office in Philadelphia. They can help you get your record expunged if you call (267) 765-6770.  If your case was in a court outside of Philadelphia, you can contact your local public defender’s office to talk about expunging your record. To find your local public defender’s phone number, click here.

Summary Offense

A low level crime, like disorderly conduct, speeding, or underage drinking.