News More Barriers Removed to Expunge or Seal Criminal Records

More Barriers Removed to Expunge or Seal Criminal Records

Criminal arrests and convictions have long been barriers to employment, housing, and education. Getting these arrests and convictions expunged or sealed has also been a barrier. Court debt such as fines, fees, and costs has prevented otherwise qualified individuals from cleaning up their criminal record and moving on with their lives.

On October 21, 2020 the Pennsylvania General Assembly unanimously passed House Bill 440 which eliminates the requirement that court debt be paid before an otherwise eligible case can be sealed. The bill was approved by Governor Wolf on October 29, 2020. Court ordered restitution, however, must be paid before the case can be sealed. This applies to cases under the Clean Slate law that are sealed either automatically or by petition. Keep in mind that the fee to file the petition must still be paid. If however, you qualify for our services, we may be able to get the filing fee waived.

House Bill 440 also provides that full acquittals (found not guilty by a judge or jury) shall be automatically expunged. In addition, Governor’s pardons shall be automatically sealed. Remember that you should still petition a court to expunge a Governor’s pardon.

House Bill 440 will take effect at the end of December, 2020. Click here to apply and see if you qualify for free legal help.