Automated record sealing began June 28: Clean Slate Law

Full implementation expected to take 1 year due to large number of cases now eligible

For Pennsylvanians with minor convictions and no further misdemeanor or felony convictions, there's good news: Automated sealing of certain criminal records began Friday, June 28, 2019 as part of the Clean Slate law. In addition to getting a second chance and improved job and housing opportunities, automated sealing means that attorney fees and expungement filing fees will no longer impede eligible individuals who are seeking a fresh start.

With an estimated 40 million records now eligible for automated sealing, the state has allotted a year to complete all of the sealings covered under the law. Deborah Steeves, LASP Staff Attorney based in West Chester, noted that cases that are newly eligible for automated sealing under Clean Slate are scheduled to be processed between June 28, 2019, and June 27, 2020.

Sharon Dietrich, Litigation Director and Managing Attorney of Community Legal Services of Philadelphia (CLS), said, "The Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts and the Pennsylvania State Police are on target for successful implementation of automated sealing by the onset date." CLS was instrumental in advocating for and securing passage of the Clean Slate Act.

Erica Briant, LASP Regional Expungement Attorney, explained that automated record-sealing will include many non-convictions, summary convictions after 10-20 years, and many nonviolent ungraded, second- or third-degree misdemeanors. For other cases, a petition must be filed with the court in order to seal records in Pennsylvania.

Because of the complexity of the laws on record sealing, expungements, and pardons, it is recommended that individuals seek help to determine "next steps" for clearing a record.

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