Last year, Pennsylvania became the first state in the country to pass a Clean Slate Law, automatically sealing certain criminal records via technology.  On Friday, June 28th, the law went into effect and the process of sealing records officially began.  Courts have until June 27, 2020 to seal more than 30 million records automatically, without the filing of any petitions to do so.

Not all criminal records will be sealed.  The Clean Slate Law does not allow for the sealing of more serious crimes, such as firearms charges, sex assaults, homicide, child endangerment, and other violent offenses.  The records that will be automatically sealed include:

  • charges that were dropped;
  • where individuals were found not guilty;
  • summary offenses and second or third-degree (nonviolent) misdemeanors that resulted in a sentence of less than two years (most retail thefts and 1st time DUIs) that occurred more than 10 years ago; and
  • other nonviolent crimes that occurred more than 10 years ago.

Even if a person does not qualify for the automatic sealing process, those convicted of some first-degree misdemeanors may petition the courts to have their records sealed under the law.  The person cannot have any convictions in the last 10 years and must have fully paid all their court-ordered fines.

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