New Clean Slate Law allows sealing of certain criminal cases

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Wednesday, December 26, 2018
PA "Clean Slate Law" goes into effect
PA "Clean Slate Law" goes into effect. Brian Taff reports during Action News at 4 p.m. on December 26, 2018.

Certain Pennsylvania residents who've run afoul of the law will start the new year with a clean slate.

The state's 'Clean Slate Law' went into effect Wednesday.

It allows Pennsylvanians with nonviolent misdemeanor records to have those records sealed if they've stayed out of trouble for ten years and paid all fines.

"Pennsylvania's Clean Slate Law permits many criminal cases in Pennsylvania to be sealed - taken out of public view, so they cannot be used by employers, landlords and others," the Community Legal Services of Philadelphia's website states.

"Between June 2019 and June 2020, sealing will be done automatically for some cases. For others, a petition must be filed with the court. You can also file a petition before automated sealing starts, or if your case is one in which your criminal record can be entirely expunged (removed) instead of sealed."

Officials say Clean Slate will create an automated computer process to seal arrests that did not result in convictions within 60 days, summary convictions after 10 years, and some second and third-degree misdemeanor convictions if there are no subsequent misdemeanor or felony convictions for a period of 10 years after the time of conviction.

Once your record is sealed under Clean Slate, it can generally only be viewed by the following:

  • Law enforcement entities (e.g. police, District Attorneys, courts, etc.)
  • Employers who are required to consider records under federal law
  • Employers who utilize FBI background checks

"But, unlike expunged records, sealed records are not destroyed," the site explains.

The law has been touted as a national model.

More information can be found at


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