With a new year comes change. And in the very beginning of 2019, certain Pennsylvania residents who have a criminal history may be starting the new year with a clean state.
A few weeks ago the state's “Clean Slate” law came into effect, and thousands of PA residents are better off because of it.
During the summer of last year, Pennsylvania officials conjured up a plan to develop software intended to identify old non-violent misdemeanor and summary convictions, as well as dismissed cases for purposes of sealing them. This idea evolved into the progressive clean slate law that is in effect today.
Essentially, this law is intended to save offenders who did their time, paid their fines, and avoided run-ins with law enforcement from the hurdles they face due to a criminal record. As most people are aware, people with a criminal record have a much harder time buying and renting housing, gaining employment, furthering their education, reinstating certain rights, and more. The law - the first of its kind in the country - will change that.
How It Works
A person's criminal history is public record. With the click of a mouse, anyone can have access to an offender's old charges and convictions, even charges that were dismissed and did not result in a conviction.
Under the Clean Slate law, records identified by the court will be sent to Pennsylvania police. It will then be their duty to sign off on moves to seal records. It's important to note that the records will be sealed, not destroyed. This means that they'll solely be accessible to law enforcement agencies, but everyone else won't be able to access them.
The system will be automatic because of the estimated volume of cases coming in. But in the meantime, people whose records are eligible will be notified, and they may petition the courts to act immediately.
So far, the law has received widespread, ardent support from a number of officials, residents, and even onlookers in other states. Surprisingly, it has solicited very little naysayers. This could be confirmation that many people are ready for criminal justice reform on a larger scale. And Pennsylvania may be the flame that ignites that change.
Pennsylvania Criminal Defense Attorney
A huge part of being adequately prepared for your case entails seeking the help of an experienced attorney. A legal professional who defends criminal defense cases will know the ins and outs of the process and can get you on a course of action that ideally fits your needs. Attorney Joseph D. Lento brings a wealth of experience to the table, as he's successfully handled numerous cases just like yours. But most importantly, his familiarity with the overall process can be a source of comfort for you in one of the most stressful times of your life. For more information about his representation or how he can help you, contact him online or by phone today at 215-535-5353.