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What is the Clean Slate Law in Pennsylvania?

On Behalf of | May 4, 2023 | Criminal Law

If you live in Pennsylvania, the “Clean Slate” Law might be the answer to giving you a fresh start. Passed in 2018, Pennsylvania’s Clean Slate Law allows for the automatic sealing of certain criminal records. This groundbreaking legislation aims to provide individuals with a second chance by removing the barriers often associated with having a criminal record, such as difficulties finding employment or securing housing.

The Clean Slate Law applies to individuals with non-violent misdemeanor convictions, summary offenses, or arrest records without convictions. A bill before the state’s legislature could expand it to include some felonies. 

To qualify, you must meet the following criteria:

  • You have been free from arrest or prosecution for 10 years following a non-violent misdemeanor conviction.
  • You have paid all court-ordered financial obligations related to your conviction.
  • Your offense did not involve a victim or pose a threat to public safety.

It’s important to note that certain offenses, such as sexual offenses, animal cruelty, or crimes against a family member, are not eligible for record sealing under the Clean Slate Law.

Benefits of the Clean Slate Law

The most significant advantage of the Clean Slate Law is its automatic nature. Eligible records will be sealed without the need for you to file a petition or go through a lengthy court process. 

The benefits of having your records sealed under the Clean Slate Law are numerous. Sealed records will no longer be accessible to the public, including potential employers and landlords, giving you a fair chance at new opportunities. Additionally, you are legally allowed to answer “no” when asked about a criminal history on job or housing applications, as long as the sealed record is not relevant to the position or housing in question.

Pennsylvania’s Clean Slate Law offers a path to a brighter future for many individuals with past criminal records. By understanding the eligibility criteria and the automatic sealing process, you can take advantage of this opportunity to leave your past behind and embrace new possibilities. 



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