In November, 2016, a statute passed by the Pennsylvania legislature took effect, substantially changing the laws governing the sealing of certain criminal records. Under the new law, for the first time in state history, persons with convictions for ungraded offenses, as well as second and third degree misdemeanors, can petition the court to have their criminal records expunged. Before the changes brought about by this law, expunction was only available for summary offenses and for underage drinking.
Technically, under the new law, the prior conviction will not be completely sealed. Instead, there will be “limited access” to the records. Any records successfully sealed may still be viewed by criminal justice and government agencies, but will not be available to the general public, to private employers or to educational institutions.
Under the new law, there are specific offenses which may be sealed:
- Simple Assault: Section 2701
- Harassment: Section 2709
- Indecent Exposure: Section 3127
- Criminal Mischief: Section 3304
- Criminal and Simple Trespass: Section 3503
- Theft by unlawful taking: Section 3921
- Retail Theft: Section 3929
- Resisting Arrest: Section 5104
- Possession/Sale/Transfer Firearms: Section 6105
- Selling/furnishing liquor/beer to minors: Section 6310
- Public Nuisance: Section 6504
- Invasion of Privacy: Section 7507
Drug Offenses 35 P. S. § 80-113
- Manufacture/sale/delivery-adulterated controlled substance: (a)(1)
- Simple Possession: (a)(16)
- Possession with intent to deliver: (a)(30)
- Possession-small amt. of marijuana: (a)(31)
- Possession-drug paraphernalia: (a)(32)
Vehicle Law Offenses 75 Pa.C.S.
- Drive w/ suspended license and/or under influence of controlled substance: Section 1543(b)
- Driving under the influence of alcohol or controlled substance (DUI): Section 3802
To qualify to seal a criminal record under the new law, an individual must be free from arrest or prosecution for ten (10) years following their conviction for the underlying offense.
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At Barnard, Mezzanotte, Pinnie, Seelaus & Kraft LLP, we offer experienced and knowledgeable legal counsel to individuals in Pennsylvania and Delaware. To set up an appointment for a free initial consultation, call us at 610-565-4055 or 302-594-4535 or contact us online.