New Pennsylvania Law Expands Sealing of Criminal Records

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf recently signed into law Senate Bill 166. The new law’s impact will be to expand the sealing of criminal records in Pennsylvania. The goal is to reduce recidivism, relieve the pardon system, and provide ex-offenders greater opportunity to join the workforce.

The new law allows individuals who have served their punishment and remained free of arrest or prosecution for anywhere from seven to ten years for non-violent second or third degree misdemeanors to petition the court for their record to be sealed from public view.

More importantly, it means being convicted of a non-violent second- or third-degree misdemeanor in Pennsylvania need no longer remain with a person for their lifetime.
Third-degree misdemeanors include certain types of disorderly conduct, loitering and prowling at night, and open lewdness, among other crimes. Second-degree misdemeanors include such crimes as false swearing in official matters, bigamy and impersonating a public servant, among other crimes.

The Impact: This Act allows for the sealing of certain criminal records.  So while law enforcement and state licensing agencies will continue to have access to those records, a person’s past criminal record will no longer be an impediment for employment, housing, education and more.

The attorneys at Howland, Hess, Guinan, Torpey, Cassidy & O’Connell, LLP are experienced in expungement proceedings and can also assist you in petitioning the court to have your record sealed. If you were previously convicted of a non-violent second- or third-degree felony, like retail theft or disorderly conduct, and wish to speak to an experienced attorney about having this information sealed publicly, contact Howland Hess O’Connell today.

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