On June 28, 2019, Pennsylvania’s Clean Slate law went into effect. Provisions under this landmark piece of legislation allow for around 30 million criminal cases to be automatically sealed. The bill, which was passed with a near-unanimous vote last year, was introduced to help people with arrest and conviction records to get their lives back on track.
Having a criminal past could make it difficult for a person to get a job, find housing, or enroll in school because many institutions run background checks before deciding on an applicant. Individuals trying to move on with their lives after a run-in with the law often find it difficult as they encounter these hurdles.
Many people who struggle with finding employment or housing and are eligible to petition to have their record sealed don’t do it. Now, with the new law in place, their arrest or conviction information will automatically be cleared.
With automatic record sealing, landlords, schools and most employers will not be able to access an applicant’s criminal history information. However, employers that are required by law to run a complete background check, as well as law enforcement agencies, will still be able to see criminal records that have been sealed.
Eligibility Under the New Law
Unfortunately, not everyone with a criminal record will be eligible to have it cleared. The new law applies to individuals who were arrested but not convicted or were convicted of non-violent offenses that occurred more than 10 years ago. Some second-degree and third-degree misdemeanor convictions that resulted in a jail sentence of less than 2 years will also qualify to be removed as long as the individual satisfied the terms of their sentence, paid all fines, and was not convicted of any other offenses within the past decade.
Although not all offenses will qualify for an automatic wipe, the new law allows for individuals convicted of some first-degree misdemeanors to petition for record sealing.
Schedule a Free Initial Consultation with the Law Offices of William D. Thompson
The laws under Clean Slate are diverse. Our attorney has 15 years of experience within the legal system and knows how to interpret complex state legislation. We can help you understand your rights and whether you are eligible for an automatic record sealing or if you can petition for an expungement.