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Mar 23

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Pennsylvania Expungement Bill

pennsylvania expungement billThe History of the Pennsylvania Expungement Bill

If you have ever looked into getting a Pennsylvania criminal record expunged, you know how limited the process can be depending on your offense — especially if you are trying to get a conviction expunged. However, If recent proposed legislation is passed, the expungement process will be expanded so that people with certain misdemeanor convictions can have their records cleared. Currently, if you are charged with a crime and were cleared of the charge, you can likely have your record expunged, but those with criminal convictions have very little hope for expungement of the criminal history that follows them around.

If you were convicted of a crime,  there are currently very limited scenarios under which your record may be eligible to expunged:

  • If you are at least 70 years old and have been free of arrest and prosecution for ten years following the final release from confinement or supervision
  • If you have been dead for three years, your family can have your record expunged
  • If you are seeking expungement of a summary offense conviction and in the five years since that conviction you have been free of arrest or prosecution
  • Certain convictions of 18 Pa CSA § 6308 (an underage alcohol offense)
  • You have received a pardon for your conviction

The ability to expunge summary offense convictions is a fairly recent change to Pennsylvania law. Since that addition, certain Pennsylvania legislators are working to expand these expungement opportunities even further, attempting to include those convicted of certain low level misdemeanor offenses.

The first Pennsylvania expungement bill of this kind was introduced in 2011, but never made it to the Senate floor for a vote. In 2013, a second version of the bill was introduced which began to gain traction with the Senate voting unanimously (49-0) for its approval. However, after this vote it stalled in the House Judiciary Committee, and never came up for a vote in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives.

How the Pennsylvania Expungement Bill Will Change Lives

People seek expungements for a multitude of reasons— the most notable being that a criminal record is a barrier in seeking employment.  This proposed law seeks to remove that barrier for many individuals who had minor, non-violent crimes, and have stayed on the right side of the law since their conviction.

While Pennsylvania legislature seeks to take down more of these barriers, the reality is that attempting to get your record expunged by yourself is difficult and is best attempted with an attorney’s help. They can guide you through the specifics that could help or hurt your chances to get your record expunged.

email an attorney about the pennsylvania expungement bill

Who Would be Eligible Under the New Pennsylvania Expungement Bill

Under this Pennsylvania expungement bill, individuals with a third-degree misdemeanor conviction or a misdemeanor without a specified degree would be eligible for expungement  if they have been free of arrest or prosecution for seven years following their release from confinement or supervision.  Individuals with a second-degree misdemeanor conviction under the age of 25 would be eligible for expungement  if they have been free of arrest or prosecution for ten years following their release from confinement or supervision.

Understandably, their are several exceptions to this bill. If your offense was punishable by two or more years (regardless of your actual sentence), or if you committed more than three offenses that are punishable by imprisonment of one or more years, or if your offense was one of witness intimidation, simple assault in the second degree, or animal cruelty, you would not be eligible for expungement.

The Current Status of the Pennsylvania Expungement Bill

After passing 49-0 (again) in the Senate on February 23rd, 2015, the Pennsylvania expungement bill is now once again in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives hands. The last time, this bill never received a vote from the House, but hopefully this time is a different outcome for the many Pennsylvanians wishing to have their record expunged.

If You’re Thinking About Getting Your Record Expunged

If you have questions about trying to have your record expunged under the current law, you should contact an attorney with experience in expungements. A skilled attorney can tell you if you qualify, guide you through the process, and help expedite your expungement case. For a free consultation about your expungement case, you can contact Joyce & Bittner at 412-281-9919.

 

“If you believe you’re eligible for an expungement, the Joyce & Bittner law firm in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania can help. Call 412-281-9919 or 1-800-299-5530.”

Permanent link to this article: http://www.pacriminallaw.com/pennsylvania-expungement-bill/