Pennsylvania's Clean Slate Act is Expected to Seal 30 million Criminal Records by 2020

Pennsylvania's Clean Slate Act, which was signed into law on June 28, 2018 and took effect on June 28, 2019, is expected to automatically seal 30 million eligible records.1

The Clean Slate Act is part of the Clean Slate Law that was signed last year and includes two parts -- Act 5, which went into effect in December, and The Clean Slate Act, which went into effect on June 28, 2019.2 The State of Pennsylvania estimates that 30 million records will be sealed by the Clean Slate Act's automatic process by 2020.34

The Clean Slate Act automatically seals eligible criminal records without an individual having to file a court petition. Eligible criminal records include non-violent second and third degree misdemeanors, charges that did not result in a conviction and summary convictions after 10 years. Misdemeanors that are punishable by two years or less in prison are also eligible if for 10 years after the conviction, there are no subsequent convictions that are punishable by imprisonment for more than a year.

The law includes exceptions to the sealing of records. If an individual has a conviction, conspiracy, attempt, or solicitation of an offense related to danger to a person, family, firearm, cruelty to animal, corruption of a minor, or a sex offense, the criminal record will not be eligible to be sealed.

For now, records that have been sealed under the Clean Slate Law will continue to appear on FBI background checks.

The Administrative Office of the Pennsylvania Courts, the Pennsylvania State Police, and the Courts of Common Pleas will have until June 28, 2020 to identify and seal the eligible records. Employers in Pennsylvania should be aware of the effect the Clean Slate Act will have on background checks.

For more information on the Act, please see our white paper available here.

2H.B. 1419

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