Working for a government contractor can provide lucrative income and fulfillment, whether that contractor serves the local, state, or federal government. Many Pennsylvanians may not realize the degree to which government contracts stimulate the state economy, funding construction projects, defense manufacturing, and many other sectors.
Your employment opportunities may be drastically limited if you can't pass a government contractor's background check. By expunging or sealing your record, attorney Joseph D. Lento may remove a burden that has been limiting your potential.
The Lento Law Firm knows Pennsylvania's expungement laws well. Let their team petition the appropriate authorities on your behalf.
Can My Criminal History Bar Me From Employment With a Government Contractor?
Yes, your criminal history could cost you a job with a government contractor. Thanks to the Fair Chance to Compete for Jobs Act of 2019 (Fair Chance Act), you may become acutely aware that your criminal history is responsible for a lost job.
Approved in December 2019, the Fair Chance Act prohibits Federal contractors “from requesting that an applicant for employment disclose criminal history record information before the applicant has received a conditional offer, and for other purposes.”
However, a government contractor may review your criminal history upon conditionally offering you a position. The condition of the job offer is that you pass a criminal background review. Therefore, a rescinded job offer may be the direct result of your prior arrests or convictions.
Past arrests or convictions do not necessarily preclude you from obtaining the position that you seek. Even so, a sealed or expunged criminal record could be beneficial. By removing or hiding past indiscretions or misunderstandings, you may face fewer barriers to employment, housing, and other advantages in life.
What Are the Options for Removing Prior Arrests and Convictions From My Record?
There are generally two options for improving your criminal history in Pennsylvania:
Expungement is the near-complete elimination of arrest or conviction from your criminal history. Though a copy of your records still exists for law enforcement's use, employers will be unaware of expunged arrests and convictions.
2. Sealing of records
Also known as limited access, a sealed record is not visible to the general public but remains accessible to law enforcement and other privileged parties.
What Are Key Differences Between Expungement and Limited Access?
Those who want to clear their criminal history consider expungement preferable to limited access. Expungement bars a greater number of parties from accessing your criminal history than a sealed record does.
Because expungement is a total concealment of your criminal record, you may only be able to expunge minor offenses and non-convictions from your criminal history. There is at least one notable exception to this rule, but expungement is generally limited to “minor” crimes and arrests that do not result in a conviction.
Imposing limited access to your criminal records may be easier than expungement, particularly for “serious” offenses. Despite these differences, both expungement and the sealing of your record have a common benefit: You do not have to report past arrests or convictions if your record is sealed or expunged, and those records will not show up on standard background checks.
What Offenses Can an Attorney Expunge in Pennsylvania?
Expungement is, naturally, the first course of action for those with a criminal record. Why not see if you can remove (nearly) all traces of legal trouble from your record?
Attorney Joseph Lento will review your eligibility for expungement, but there are a few standard guidelines you should be aware of. The most straightforward cases for expungement are those where someone is arrested but never convicted of a crime.
Your criminal record could also be eligible for expungement if:
- Expungement was a condition of a sentencing agreement involving a diversionary program (such as Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition)
- The state of Pennsylvania has issued a pardon for an offense that you were previously convicted of
- A conviction was for a summary offense, which is generally considered a minor crime
- You are 70 years of age and have not been arrested for at least ten years (this is a circumstance under which more serious convictions could be eligible for expungement)
Certain other circumstances may entitle you to expungement. Should your case satisfy the conditions of 18 Pa.C.S. § 9122, your attorney can petition for expungement with the appropriate clerk of court.
What Offenses Can Be Sealed in Pennsylvania?
Limited access may be a more realistic option for those convicted of a crime more serious than a summary offense. Fortunately, Pennsylvania's Clean Slate Act of 2018 has:
- Expanded eligibility criteria for sealing criminal records
- Enacted automatic sealing of certain criminal records
Arising from the Clean Slate Initiative, Pennsylvania's Clean Slate Act is the first legislation of its kind to achieve adoption in the United States. The Act “automatically seals certain conviction records after a person stays crime-free for ten years and all non-conviction records with no waiting period.”
Whether through automatic processes (there are still kinks to be ironed out) or through your attorneys' petition, you may be able to seal convictions for:
- A summary offense that you were not able to expunge
- Certain 1st-, 2nd-, and 3rd-degree misdemeanors
As you may expect, the degree of the criminal conviction may impact the likelihood of success when seeking to seal a record. Pursuing expungement or sealing of a record may be worthwhile if there is even a chance of success.
There may be recourse for sealing a felony conviction, and you should speak with an attorney about this possibility. Joseph Lento will explain whether limited access or another strategy is worth pursuing for a felony conviction.
Hire a Pennsylvania Attorney for Expungement
Though steps like the Fair Chance Act and the Clean Slate Act signal greater leniency towards those with arrests or convictions in their past, do not assume that a government contractor will overlook your record. Government contractors may operate in a buttoned-up manner that includes extreme discretion towards criminal matters.
Attorney Joseph Lento understands how one's past can muddy their future. He takes all possible steps to free clients from the bonds of a criminal record, whether through expungement, sealing of records, or other means.
Allow the Lento Law Firm to petition for you and your future. Call the Lento Law Firm today at 888-535-3686 or contact us online.