Both the Pennsylvania House of Representatives and Senate have passed and Governor Wolf has signed legislation to seal low-level criminal records of people who go ten years without another arrest. This is great news for anyone who has been unfortunate to have had a minor brush with the law and had that one event create problems in seeking jobs, housing or any number of other areas for years afterward.
The Courts and Commonwealth will now automatically seal from the public the records of second and third degree misdemeanor convictions after ten years so long as that individual has remained arrest free during that period.
Pennsylvania’s current “clean slate” law allows for sealing of low-level records, but only if a petition is filed by the individual whose record is to be sealed and granted by the Court.
This new law does not apply to violent offenses related to endangering a person, firearms, sexual offenses, cruelty to animals, and corruption of minors, even if graded as a misdemeanor.
As we know, people who have a criminal conviction can face all sorts of problems due to an isolated incident that took place years before. With the Commonwealth now sealing from public view minor criminal convictions from over ten years ago, many of our friends and family can have the opportunity to move on with their lives and not be stigmatized by an incident from long ago that is out of character for the person they are today.