New Law Allows Pennsylvanians to Clean Up Their Criminal Records

by: Ronald M. Katzman

Many Pennsylvanians are unable to find good jobs due to criminal convictions for low level, non-violent offenses from the distant past. Thankfully, on February 16, 2016, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf signed in to law Senate Bill No. 166 which provides an avenue to relief for individuals who were convicted of certain non-violent second and third degree misdemeanors. Under the new law, citizens of the Commonwealth can ask the court to limit access to records of criminal convictions for many low level offenses which are more than 10 years old, if they have been free of crime since that time. While law enforcement agencies and the courts will still have access to this criminal information, the public, and more importantly employers, will no longer be provided records of these convictions.

Examples of offenses which will be eligible for expungement under the new law include retail theft, criminal trespass, vandalism, and indecent assault. However, the law specifically excludes certain crimes such as simple assault, witness or victim intimidation, or a conviction requiring registry under Megan’s law. Additionally, more serious offenses, including first degree misdemeanors and felonies of any degree will not be eligible for expungement under the law.

Although the law was signed into effect on February 16, 2016, it will not be effective until November of 2016. In the meantime, please contact the experienced criminal defense attorneys at Goldberg Katzman to determine whether records of your prior convictions can be removed from public assess under this law. We look forward to helping you clean up your record to enhance your employment opportunities.

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