Expanding the Availability of Expungement: A New Pennsylvania Law

by | Mar 7, 2016 | Criminal Defense

Everyone makes mistakes. Unfortunately, when a mistake results in a criminal conviction, that mistake follows you for life. Every job application you fill out will ask you if you’ve been convicted of a crime – and you will have to say “yes.” After an expungement, you get to say “no.”

What is an expungement? An expungement is a court order that seals a criminal record, essentially erasing the record in the eyes of the law.

The New Law Makes It Much Easier To Get An Expungement

A new law in Pennsylvania recognizes that one mistake shouldn’t make it hard to get a job, get housing, or get into college.

Governor Wolf recently signed a new law that makes it much easier for those convicted of a crime to expunge their criminal records. The new law allows individuals to obtain an expungement for a much wider range of criminal offenses, including nonviolent second and third degree misdemeanors.

Before the new law was signed, expungement was much harder to obtain, and was limited to summary offenses, juvenile adjudication and arrests that did not result in a conviction.

This is good news for those with prior criminal records. With the new law in effect, will be far less likely that routine background checks will reveal prior minor convictions, making it easier to get a job and housing.

Are My Charges Eligible For Expungement?

If you were charged with a crime, or convicted of a second or third degree nonviolent felony, and it has been seven years since your conviction, you may be eligible for expungement.

If you are wondering whether you qualify for expungement, consider speaking with a lawyer who can evaluate your situation and advise you of your options.