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New Pennsylvania law will allow nonviolent misdemeanor crimes to be sealed

Senate Bill 166 was signed into law by Gov. Tom Wolf on Feb. 16 and will allow individuals who have served their punishment for nonviolent misdemeanors to petition to have their records sealed from public view.

Additionally, law enforcement agencies will be required to do away with any records of arrests or filing of criminal charges where “at least three years have elapsed from the time of the arrest, no conviction occurred, and there and no pending proceedings seeking a conviction,” according to the Pennsylvania Labor & Employment Blog.

Under SB 166, in order to petition to have their criminal records sealed, individuals must be either free from arrest for 10 years, or released from incarceration for 10 years, whichever occurred later.

While the Act may limit the availability of certain misdemeanor criminal records for employment purposes, law enforcement and state licensing agencies will continue to have access to sealed records and felony convictions will continue to be reportable on criminal background checks no matter how long ago they occurred.

The full text of Pennsylvania’s Senate Bill 166 can be found here.

Source: Pennsylvania Labor & Employment Blog, 2/22/2016

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