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Pennsylvania Governor Celebrates Anniversary of Clean Slate Law

Earlier this summer, Governor Tom Wolf celebrated the one-year anniversary of Pennsylvania’s Clean Slate Law. With the occasion, the automatic sealing of some criminal records written into the legislation went into effect.

Pennsylvania becomes the very first state to automatically seal certain eligible criminal records so that they do not affect a person’s chance for employment, education or housing. According to Governor Wolf, the people who will benefit from the law are those who have spent at least 10 years without reoffending or may even never have been found guilty in the first place. These individuals will have these charges removed from their record.

Sealing Criminal Records: Slow, but steady process

About one-twelfth of all the 30 million criminal records affected by the legislation will be sealed each month, beginning with the most recent cases. All non-convictions from the past 10 years will be sealed over the next few months before any convictions will be sealed. Courts will generate individual orders with the sealing of each record, which people who have sealed cases can then retrieve at their county court if they wish to get a copy to have on record.

The measure actually went into effect in December 2018, but the automatic sealing of cases did not begin until earlier this summer. However, thousands of people have already sought help from Community Legal Services and the Pennsylvania Bar Administration to clear their records in a more formal process in the past eight months.

To learn more about Pennsylvania’s Clean Slate Law and how it might benefit you, speak with experienced Reading criminal defense lawyer David R. Eshelman.


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