On November 12, 2016, a law enacted by the Pennsylvania Legislature went into effect allowing, for the first time, restriction to criminal records of individuals in Pennsylvania who had been convicted of 2nd or 3rd degree misdemeanors, or an ungraded offense, which carried no more than two years in prison. Previous to this, an individual would only be capable of having underage drinking or summary offenses expunged.
With the new law, there are a great variety of offenses which individuals can restrict access to as far as their prior criminal record is concerned.
The distinction made by the Legislature is that application may be made for what is known “limited access” to criminal records. While the criminal records of an individual would not be completely expunged, meaning that those records would be available for distribution to criminal justice and government agencies, any other private employer, educational institution, or other members of the public would be unable to obtain criminal records if such a limited access order was granted.
As indicated above, the expansion of the expungement law is limited to those who were convicted of a 2nd or 3rd degree misdemeanor, or an ungraded offense, which carries no more than two years in prison. Most importantly, an individual must be free from arrest or prosecution for ten (10) years following their conviction of the underlying offense.
Here are some common offenses that may be sealed under the new law:
- Simple Assault: Section 2701
- Harassment: Section 2709
- Indecent Exposure: Section 3127
- Criminal Mischief: Section 3304
- Criminal and Simple Trespass: Section 3503
- Theft by unlawful taking: Section 3921
- Retail Theft: Section 3929
- Resisting Arrest: Section 5104
- Possession/Sale/Transfer Firearms: Section 6105
- Selling/furnishing liquor/beer to minors: Section 6310
- Public Nuisance: Section 6504
- Invasion of Privacy: Section 7507
- Manufacture/sale/delivery-adulterated controlled substance: (a)(1)
- Simple Possession: (a)(16)
- Possession with intent to deliver: (a)(30)
- Possession-small amt. of marijuana: (a)(31)
- Possession-drug paraphernalia: (a)(32)
- Drive w/ suspended license and/or under influence of controlled substance: Section 1543(b)
- Driving under the influence of alcohol or controlled substance (DUI): Section 3802
Drug Offenses 35 P. S. § 80-113
Vehicle Law Offenses 75 Pa.C.S.
If you have an interest in determining whether your prior criminal conviction may be sealed under this valuable Pennsylvania law, please contact our office.