According to reports, nearly 1 in 3 Pennsylvania adults has some type of criminal records. If you have been arrested and charged with a crime in Pennsylvania, your criminal record may haunt you for the rest of your life. It may adversely affect your chances of getting a job, or even a place to live. However, if you were arrested and convicted of nonviolent crimes, your criminal record may not haunt you anymore.
On July 3, 2018, Gov. Tom Wolf signed a “Clean Slate” bill that seals nonviolent criminal records after a decade. Pennsylvania is the first state with a clean slate program. A news conference organized by the U.S. Justice Action Network was held in late June to discuss the bill, and sponsors of the legislation were in attendance, including Reps. Sheryl Delozier, R-Cumberland County and Jordan Harris, D-Philadelphia. Delozier said this bill gives a second chance to people who “made a mistake when they are young” and have gone on to live a life free of arrest for 10 years.
Other organizations, such as the Center for American Progress, also support the bill. According to Neera Tanden of the Center for American Progress, for thousands of Pennsylvanians, “a single mistake won’t define the rest of their lives.”
The bill allows individuals with nonviolent misdemeanor records that carried a sentence of a year or more in jail to request sealing of their records if they have remained out of trouble for 10 years and paid all of the fines and costs.
For individuals with second or third degree misdemeanor convictions that carried sentences of two years or less, their records are automatically sealed if the individuals avoided other convictions for a decade. The automatic sealing of records also applies to individuals who were arrested for second or third degree misdemeanors but were never convicted.
Crimes and offenses involving guns, sexual assaults/rapes, murder, kidnapping, child endangerment and endangering the welfare of children are not subject to the new law.
This bill helps individuals with minor criminal records improve their lives. Gov. Wolf said that a minor criminal offense is frequently “a life sentence to poverty” for individuals who have decades-old convictions.
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* Source: www.pennlive.com (PA First ‘Clean Slate’ State Sealing Criminal Records)