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New Pennsylvania Law Allows Old and Minor Convictions to be Sealed


New Pennsylvania Law Allows Old and Minor Convictions to be Sealed

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As of November 14, 2016, people with certain misdemeanor convictions can ask the court to seal their record. A sealed record will only be available to law enforcement.  It will NOT be available to employers or the public.

You may be eligible if all of the following apply:

1. You were convicted (plead guilty or were found guilty) of an offense that was a misdemeanor of the 2nd or 3rd degree.

  • Common offenses include drug possession, DUI, minor theft, disorderly conduct, and prostitution.

2. You have been free of arrest and conviction for a period of 10 years following the completion of your sentence.

3. You have never been convicted of certain crimes, including any felonies, 1st degree misdemeanors, or 2nd degree simple assault (the most common kind).

4. You have fewer than four misdemeanor convictions.

5. You have paid all fines and costs owed on the case.

* There are other exceptions as well - consult with a lawyer if you think you may be eligible.*


1. Non-conviction charges (charge was dismissed, withdrawn, nolle prossed, not guilty, etc.).

2. ARD/Section 17 if you complete the program and pay the fine.

3. Summary convictions if you have a five-year arrest free period since the conviction.

4. Any conviction if you are 70+ years old and have a ten-year arrest free period since the conviction(s).

As of November, there is a fee of $132 to petition the court to have a record sealed or expunged. If you cannot afford this fee, you should ask the court to proceed in forma pauperis (IFP).

If you have a case that CANNOT be expunged or sealed, the only way to get it off your record is by applying for a pardon from the Governor.

  • There is a recommended waiting period of at least five years from the completion of a misdemeanor sentence and ten years from the completion of a felony sentence before applying.
  • All court fines and costs should be paid.

The pardon process is long (it can take 4+ years), but if you get a pardon, your conviction(s) can be expunged!

If you do not know what is on your record, you can:

  • Ask for a copy of your record at the Clerk of Court’s office on the 3rd Floor of the Criminal Justice Center at 1301 Filbert St.
  • Find your record online at

For help sealing or expunging your record:

For help with the pardon process:

Use this flow chart to see if your record can be sealed under Act 5 (click to enlarge or download PDF below).

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