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Pennsylvania Legislative Update – Expungements of Criminal Convictions

On February 16, 2016, Pennsylvania Governor Thomas Wolf signed a bill amending Title 18, Section 9192 of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes to expand eligibility for expungements of criminal convictions.

 

Under the legislation, individuals with convictions for  non-violent second and third degree misdemeanors and ungraded offenses, such as trespass, vandalism, theft or drug possession, who have been free from arrest or conviction for a period of ten (10) years following the end of their supervision may petition for an Order of Limited Access for their criminal history records.  Orders of Limited Access will only be available for offenses subject to a maximum possible sentence of no more than two (2) years, will not be available to individuals who have been convicted of four (4) or more offenses punishable by imprisonment of one (1) or more years, and offenses of a violent or sexual nature are specifically excluded from eligibility.

 

If granted, an Order of Limited Access will protect the individual from disclosure of the conviction(s) that are covered in the Order.  It also will require law enforcement agencies to remove information regarding the covered convictions from a criminal history record before disseminating the record to an individual or non-criminal justice entity, such as an employer.  However, the Act permits law enforcement and licensing agencies as defined to request and use such criminal history records.