Offering automatic record-sealing for many nonviolent misdemeanors, Clean Slate legislation becomes law in Pennsylvania

(July 2018) In June, Pennsylvania became the first state to pass and sign into law Clean Slate legislation. The law provides automatic record-sealing of nonviolent ungraded, second- or third-degree misdemeanors.

For the first time, people convicted of some first-degree misdemeanors will be able to petition for record-sealing. Depending on the number and severity of their convictions, they will need to wait 10-20 years. To petition for record-sealing, they also must be free of additional convictions during those 10-20 years.

Erica Briant, Regional Expungement Attorney for LASP, noted that in the past, a petition had to be filed with the court in order to have any record sealed in Pennsylvania. With automatic record sealing, attorney fees and court costs will no longer burden people trying to re-start their lives.

LASP's work in expungements will remain important, Briant said. For instance:

  • Expungements for summary convictions can be filed after five years with no further arrests or charges.
  • Sealed records still can be accessed by law enforcement and serve as a barrier to employment.

Our neighboring legal services program, Community Legal Services of Philadelphia, worked hard to advance this legislation. To access CLS's summary of the Clean Slate law, eligibility flow chart, frequently asked questions and more, please visit

Among other coverage of Clean Slate:

Allentown Morning Call story:

Editorial in Observer-Gazette of Washington, PA:

Pennsylvania Legal Aid Network story: