Pennsylvania lawmakers have taken a step in the right directions and decided to expend expungement laws. Senate Bill 166, signed by the Governor in February 2016, created 18 Pa.C.S. 9122.1 which allows for the sealing of most misdemeanors of the second and third degree. This new law allows citizens to petition for their misdemeanor record be sealed from view from everyone but certain criminal justice and government agencies. Furthermore, if an order is granted pursuant to this law, the petitioner can lawfully refuse to disclose information about their criminal record to non-criminal justice agencies, including current and potential employers.
There are, of course, certain strings attached to the new law. First, for the sealing of a misdemeanor conviction, ten years must have passed since the end of confinement or supervision. Secondly, the petitioner must never have been convicted of a single offense punishable by more then two years of imprisonment, nor convicted of four offenses punishable by imprisonment of one or more years. Finally, the new expungement law requires that the individual seeking to have their record seal never have been convicted of the following offenses:
1. A violation of section 2701 (relating to simple assault), except when the offense is graded as a misdemeanor of the third degree;
2. A violation of section 4952 (relating to intimidation of witnesses or victims);
3. A violation of section 3129 (relating to sexual intercourse with animal);
4. A violation of section 4912 (relating to impersonating a public servant);
5. A violation of section 4953 (relating to retaliation against witness, victim or party);
6. A violation of section 4958 (relating to intimidation, retaliation or obstruction in child abuse cases); and
7. An offense which requires registration under 42 Pa.C.S. 97 Subch. H (relating to registration of sexual offenders).