On November 14, 2016, new amendments to Pennsylvania law will go into effect, reported the Philadelphia Inquirer. The changes to Act 5 will allow people with certain types of misdemeanors to ask the courts to seal their records so that they are available only to law enforcement, and not to the general public.
The changes come with an increase in filing fees, up from under $20 to about $145 per petition.
Next week, lawmakers, advocates, and local and state officials will gather in Harrisburg to talk about the next iteration on criminal records: the Clean Slate bill.
That measure would automatically erase arrests without convictions and certain offenses from a person's criminal record after a period of time with no need for an expensive court petition. Police will still have access.
You may be eligible if all of the following apply:
1. You were convicted (plead guilty or were found guilty) of an offense that was a misdemeanor of the 2nd or 3rd degree.
Common offenses include drug possession, DUI, minor theft, disorderly conduct, and prostitution.
2. You have been free of arrest and conviction for a period of 10 years following the completion of your sentence.
3. You have never been convicted of certain crimes, including any felonies, 1st degree misdemeanors, or 2nd degree simple assault (the most common kind).
4. You have fewer than four misdemeanor convictions.
5. You have paid all fines and costs owed on the case.
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