For many Pennsylvania residents, securing a good job or home with a criminal record is nearly impossible. The economy's uncertain state doesn't help, with few opportunities and the rejection of qualified applicants to cut costs. Fortunately, new changes to the Clean Slate law are now in effect, acting as a welcome reprieve for thousands of people and leveling the playing field once again.
House Bill 440 includes modifications that help people with former criminal convictions clear their records. The move comes with PA's efforts to reform its criminal justice system and spearhead national efforts to follow suit. The amendment offers relief to people who can't afford to pay fines and court debts, a prerequisite under the former Clean Slate Act for expungements and record sealing.
Keep in mind that you still need to pay off court-ordered restitution fees before you are eligible. However, with thousands of people struggling with expenses, the new changes to Bill 440 mean better opportunities and a fresh start.
Implications of the Changes to Bill 440
The three changes will make it easier to prevent landlords and would-be employers from rejecting an application due to a person's history. The first provides automatic expungement to defendants who have full court acquittals. The second removes financial prerequisites such as fines and outstanding debt to the court. Finally, those receiving pardons from the governor can also expect an automatic record expungement under the changes.
The bill's modifications have significant benefits, like clearing most misdemeanors and summary offenses after ten years. It allows you to work in companies that do not employ applicants with criminal records. It also helps you to secure better housing opportunities and pass background checks.
Most importantly, they help you start a new life with your family and loved ones. The burden of having a criminal record, especially when you are innocent or have a minor charge, is debilitating on all fronts. With fewer opportunities, you will accept any job or house you can find. With the state automatically removing those records or sealing them, you have a fair chance again.
Contact the Lento Law Firm
If you did not receive an automatic expungement on your file despite your eligibility, you still have options. For example, suppose you have a summary offense on your record that's at least five years old. You may qualify for an expungement with the right defense strategy and a proficient attorney.
A Pennsylvania expungement lawyer helps you fight criminal offense charges and works to remove them from your record. Since every case is unique, you need a lawyer who understands the legal system and whether your case has a fighting chance.
Attorney Joseph D. Lento helps you file a petition and reviews your record to determine eligibility. With years of experience assisting clients with sealing or expunging their records, attorney Lento works for the best possible outcome for every case.
A clear record sets the stage for a new and better path in your life, and attorney Lento helps you get there. Call Lento Law Firm today to discuss your case at 888-535-3686.