There is no such thing as a "minor" criminal conviction. That is because a criminal record can have a profoundly negative effect on your life for years to come. Private and public employers, landlords, banks and colleges almost all perform criminal background checks on applicants. For years here in Pennsylvania, even a one-time mistake years in the past could be a constant roadblock to gainful employment.
Thankfully, recent changes in the law will give more people here a second chance after a conviction. At Conner Riley Friedman & Weichler in Erie, we can help you understand your rights and options when it comes to sealing or expunging your record.
What The New Changes In The Law Mean
Previously, Pennsylvania law allowed for some offenses to be expunged, but the procedure was complex, and it was hard to get a judge to grant an expungement. An expungement means your criminal record would be permanently destroyed.
A change to Pennsylvania law in February 2016, however, will allow second-degree, third-degree and ungraded misdemeanor convictions to be "sealed," which means they will be inaccessible to many background checks. People will be eligible to seal their records after 10 years of remaining arrest-free after the completion of their original sentence.
The practical effect of this change means that when you are applying for a job or housing, your employer or landlord will not be able to have access to your criminal record. Law enforcement, however, will still have access to your records.
Have Questions? We Can Help.
You should never try to get an expungement or sealing without an experienced lawyer's help. If you have questions about how to clear your record, schedule a consultation with an attorney today by contacting Conner Riley Friedman & Weichler in Erie at 814-240-3339.