Help is available for Pennsylvania residents to better understand a new law that recently went into effect.
The Clean Slate Law went into effect on Dec. 26. Hailed as a way to get people back to work and allow those with infractions to once again make contributions to society, the legislation is the first of its kind in the country.
“Clean Slate is an incredibly important piece of my administration’s commitment to helping formerly incarcerated or arrested individuals get their lives back on track,” Pa. Governor Tom Wolf said. “And as with any new law, implementation can be complicated and somewhat difficult to understand. Clean Slate is no different. So, for those looking to avail themselves of Clean Slate, who wish to wipe clean the slate of their past, there is help navigating the process, thanks to the organizations present here today.”
“My Clean Slate” is a program created by Community Legal Services in partnership with the Pennsylvania Bar Association to provide free legal consultation to Pennsylvanians in determining if they are eligible for the provisions of Clean Slate legislation.
“We are so pleased that under the first phase of Clean Slate, more Pennsylvanians with old misdemeanors are now able to get them sealed,” Sharon Dietrich, Legislation Director for Community Legal Services, said. “As of December 26, 2018, non-violent first-degree misdemeanors and most simple assault convictions became eligible for sealing, if the individual has not been convicted for ten years and if no fines and costs are owed.”
“The Pennsylvania Bar Association is proud to be a part of this new effort to help Pennsylvanians better understand the Clean Slate law and, more importantly, to assist those with criminal records understand their rights under this new law,” said PBA President-elect Anne N. John. “For those eligible, the impact of this program will be life-changing, opening doors to better opportunities for housing and jobs.”
Clean Slate was passed with a near unanimous vote (188-2) and signed into law by Gov. Wolf on June 28.
The law expands criminal record sealing to include more types of offenses, including some first-degree misdemeanors, which can be sealed by filing petitions. The law also creates an automated computer process to seal arrests that did not result in convictions within 60 days, summary convictions after 10 years, and some second and third-degree misdemeanor convictions if there are no subsequent misdemeanor or felony convictions for a period of 10 years after the time of conviction. The automatic sealing provision will go into effect on June 28, 2019.
More information on My Clean Slate and how to access to free legal consultation is available here.
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