Record Sealing is a new process for clearing one's name used in Pennsylvania. Last year, Governor Tom Wolf signed into law Act 5, which gave those who have been convicted of misdemeanors much better options for clearing their name following the completion of their sentences. Criminal records can make it difficult for a person to hold a job, find a place to live, or simply move on from that period of time in their life. In addition, individuals who seek to hold a professional license, or who have held a professional license prior to their conviction, may find difficulty re-entering the workforce. Record sealing is an especially important practice for those seeking to get their life back on track.
Record Sealing Eligibility
When a person has been convicted of a crime, prior to the passing of this law, they were not able to have any simple recourse to clear their record. Under the new law, a person has access to the ability to make a filing to seal their record, provided that certain eligibility requirements have been met. Requirements to be eligible for a record sealing include:
- A person has been convicted of a misdemeanor charge at the level of the second or third degree
- A person has not faced additional criminal matters, including arrests, for at least 10 years
- A person's sentencing has been completed, including any programs assigned as part of probation or parole
- A person has had fewer than four misdemeanor convictions
- A person has never been convicted of certain crimes, such as felonies, or certain misdemeanors
- A person has fulfilled all court fees, fines, and costs associated with the case
The individual seeking to have their record sealed must file their petition with the county where they were initially charged with the offense. An attorney may be able to assist a person through the process of clearing their name.
Pennsylvania Record Sealing Attorney
While a defendant can conduct these filings on their own, they may run into difficulty. These are new laws, which can mean two things. The courts will have a high volume of cases of this nature, as many other individuals will be seeking the same means to clear their name as others. Also, court staff may also be familiarizing themselves with these new laws. This, coupled with the high volume of cases can mean the court will only be able to provide limited guidance for a defendant seeking to clear their records.
A Pennsylvania attorney can help defendants through this arduous process. An attorney will be up to date with current court laws and procedures and can ensure that the filing is done correctly. If you or a loved one is seeking to clear their name in Pennsylvania, contact attorney Joseph D. Lento today.