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What You Need to Know About Philadelphia’s ‘Clean Slate Law’

What You Need to Know About Philadelphia’s ‘Clean Slate Law’

At some point in life, we’re all looking for a clean slate. Now, residents of Pennsylvania with certain prior convictions may be able to make it happen. All it takes are the services of a criminal defense attorney serving Doylestown, and a little personal knowledge of your own. Here are some answers to questions you might have about the Clean Slate Law.


What is the Clean Slate Law?

The Clean Slate Law allows nonviolent offenders to move forward without past convictions hanging over their head. If you’ve been convicted of a nonviolent misdemeanor, even one that came with a jail sentence of a year or more, this law may apply to you. These convictions can be sealed if you have not reoffended for a period of ten years and have no outstanding costs or fines associated with the conviction.


What does it mean to seal a conviction?

When a conviction is sealed, it is no longer part of public record. That means a court order will be required to unseal and view that conviction. Unlike an expungement, the conviction still exists, it’s just not public information. Convictions that are not sealed, for instance, would appear as part of any background check. If you’re still unclear on what it means to seal a conviction, call Richard Fink Law Offices, criminal defense attorney serving Doylestown.


Can sealed convictions still be expunged?

Under Pennsylvania state law, some charges, including those which ended up being dismissed, can be completely expunged from your record. You may also be eligible for expungement if you were an Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (ARD) recipient. If you would like to seal those cases prior to or while moving to have it expunged, you can do so under the Clean Slate Law. This can help you in your efforts to obtain employment if expunging the record is taking longer than is helpful.


Should I tell a potential employer about my sealed convictions?

You don’t have to, no. Those who only have sealed or expunged convictions from their record can check “no” when asked if they’ve ever been convicted of a criminal offense. However, there are federal laws that may require your disclosure of these offenses if the information is requested by an agency under the Department of Justice.


How can I take advantage of the Clean Slate Law?

Understandably, many people aren’t clear on whether or not their convictions are truly eligible, and how to proceed in getting them sealed. In fact, some convictions may be eligible for automatic sealing. That’s why area residents rely on the counsel of Richard Fink, an experienced criminal defense attorney serving Doylestown. Although the Clean Slate Law is a new one, the Law Offices of Richard Fink have been preparing for the rollout of these protections since the bill was signed in 2018. Mr. Fink is a former Chairman of the Bucks County Bar Association Criminal Law Section, as well as a former Eastern Vice President of the Pennsylvania Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers and is currently serving as Director of the Pennsylvania Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers.