Could Pennsylvania Make Record Sealing Automatic?
Governor Tom Wolf signed Senate Bill 166, otherwise known as “Act 5 of 2016,” last February and the bill took effect that November. Act 5 amended Title 18 of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes to allow individuals who have served their punishment and remained free of arrest, prosecution, or conviction for 10 years following misdemeanor convictions to petition the court for the sealing of their records.
Act 5 was not without some exceptions, which includes an offense punishable by imprisonment of more than two years, four or more offenses punishable by imprisonment of one or more years, or any one of the following violations:
• Simple assault, except when the offense is graded as a third-degree misdemeanor;
• Sexual intercourse with animal;
• Impersonating a public servant;
• Intimidation of witnesses or victims;
• Retaliation against witness, victim or party;
• Intimidation, retaliation or obstruction in child abuse cases;
• An offense requiring registration as a sex offender.
A little more than one year later, lawmakers in Pennsylvania are now considering so-called “Clean Slate” legislation sponsored by State senators Scott Wagner and Anthony Williams. Senate Bill 529 would also amend Title 18 but would create a process by which nonviolent misdemeanor convictions would be automatically sealed after a person has gone 10 years without any additional violations. State representatives Kristin Phillips-Hill and Carol Hill-Evans introduced House Bill 1419 as a companion bill.
The York Dispatch reported that the “Clean Slate” unanimously passed out of committee on June 6 and was awaiting a full Senate vote. The House companion bill was still awaiting consideration in the House Judiciary Committee.
“As a business owner I see firsthand the impact a criminal record can have on an individual’s attempt to obtain employment or advance their career,” Wagner said in a statement. “Someone who committed a minor offense 20 years ago should not still be judged for that crime today.”
West Chester Record Sealing Attorney
Sealing a criminal record is not the same as expunging one. When a criminal record is sealed, it cannot be viewed by the general public but remains accessible to law enforcement agencies. When a criminal record is expunged, the actual criminal record is destroyed, and only certain law enforcement or government agencies will have access.
Sealing a criminal record requires a person to file a petition with the Court of Common Pleas in the county where the individual was convicted. The District Attorney’s Office has 30 days to consent or object, and any objection will result in a hearing.
Additional information may be required when a person is seeking to have his or criminal record sealed. It is extremely beneficial for any individual hoping to expunge or seal his or her criminal record to seek experienced legal representation.
Ciccarelli Law Offices represents clients who have been charged with or convicted of criminal offenses in communities throughout Chester County. If you are hoping to seal or expunge your criminal record, you will want to take advantage of a free, confidential consultation so you can fully understand all of your legal options.