New “Ban-the-box” Bill in PA
In late October, Pennsylvania State Representatives Morgan Cephas and Jason Ortitay introduced H.B. 2952, specifically written to “ban the box” on applications to public colleges and universities. In 2018, the question of whether or not a student had a prior criminal conviction was banned on the Common Application in Pennsylvania. However, colleges and universities could still add their own supplemental forms that asked the question.
According to The Philadelphia Tribune, “The legislators said the law would remove barriers to education for returning citizens, thus furthering economic growth and community safety.” The legislation would still allow for a question pertaining to certain criminal offenses.
WHYY News also reported on the story, stating, “If passed, it would apply to universities part of Pennsylvania's State System of Higher Education (PASSHE), including Cheyney, West Chester and Kutztown.”
As a result of the felony question, many students hesitate to apply if they have criminal records. Although this bill would ban the box, if passed, there are other ways to address prior convictions, such as expungement.
What Is Expungement And Who Is Eligible For It?
Expungement is essentially when a crime from a criminal record is erased from your record. What does that mean? It means that, in effect, your record isn't visible to the general public, including potential employers, and all criminal and court records related to the matter are expunged (or destroyed per Pennsylvania law). There are several instances where an individual might qualify for expungement.
If you were not convicted of a crime and there are no pending criminal proceedings, you can request for the record of your arrest to be expunged. You also may be eligible, if the offense was a summary offense and it's been at least five years since any criminal proceedings. There are many other possible situations, such as completing an ARD program, that may qualify you for an expungement, so it's important to speak with an attorney who's familiar with the process and the statutes.
How Hard Is It To Get A Criminal Record Expunged In Pennsylvania?
The process for expungement is not simple. If you are eligible for expungement, there are several steps that you must follow in order to have a crime expunged from your criminal record. The very first step is that an individual has to request a background check (form SP 4-170) from the Pennsylvania State Police. An attorney can assist you with this process so that it occurs within the necessary time frame. The next step is to file a petition for expungement in the specific county where the crime occurred. This means that if there are multiple eligible charges or crimes, each one needs its own completed petition. There are two types of petitions, and each petition requires other necessary documentation. An experienced attorney will be able to help you navigate the process so that everything is filed in a timely fashion.
Expert Pennsylvania Expungement Lawyer
If you were charged with a crime and are now looking to have it expunged from your record, it's best to consider hiring an attorney with extensive experience. Attorney Joseph D. Lento and the Lento Law Firm have worked with hundreds of clients over many years to ensure the best possible outcome. Joseph D. Lento brings expertise, dedication, and passion to all of his client cases. Call us today at 888.535.3686 or contact us online to discuss the expungement process.