In February 2016 Tom Wolf, the governor of Pennsylvania, formally signed Pennsylvania Senate Bill 166. This action expanded the Pennsylvania Expungement Law to create 9122.1, which introduced a new class of expungements. As a result of this bill, many second and third-degree misdemeanors qualify for expungement. The law officially went into effect in October of 2016.
Changes to Pennsylvania’s Expungement Law
The new Pennsylvania Expungement Law allows second and third-degree misdemeanors to be expunged after ten years, and the crime can only be punishable by a maximum of two years. There are some exceptions to this rule. If any of these exceptions apply, you will not be eligible to have your charges expunged.
- Four or more convictions that were punishable by one or more years
- A simple assault second-degree misdemeanor
- Charged with sexual intercourse with animals (3129)
- Accused of impersonating a public servant (4912)
- Participated in retaliation (4953)
- Involved in retaliation, obstruction or intimidation regarding a child abuse investigation (4958)
- Participated in any crime that involves a sex offender registration (under 42 Pa.C.S. Ch. 97)
- What Else Should You Expect?
The most prominent difference between the new expungement law and the old one is the way that criminal records are reported and kept. If you are granted an expungement under 9122 (the original law), an order comes with this expungement for authorities to dispose of the records, which include fingerprints, photos, and state and county records.
According to Pennsylvania Expungement Law 9122.1, police are required to keep a record of the conviction but are not permitted to share the files with anyone who is outside of law enforcement. Orders that come from judges of the Court Of Common Pleas will be referred to as “limited access” under the new law.
What is a Limited Access Order?
Limited Access makes the new expungement similar to the way that other states seal a conviction. Even though the title of this new Pennsylvania law makes it an expungement, the effect of the law is to seal second and third-degree misdemeanors from public records.
The new expungement law won’t allow anyone who benefits from this law to have gun rights restored. It will also not prevent a district attorney from protesting the old conviction if you are sentenced in the future. When it comes to professional licensing, the agency that is issuing the license will inform the applicant of whether or not the new expungement will be accepted.
Expungements and Pardons in Pennsylvania
There are still some questions regarding the pardon and expungement process in Pennsylvania. The state expungement law was changed years ago to allow for summary convictions, but The Pennsylvania Board Of Pardons ceased to accept applications or consider these types of convictions. Now that the new expungement law is in effect, the pardon process is unclear. We will continue to follow up with Pennsylvania expungement law to bring you the most accurate and current information.