Bucks Writs - Spring 2019 - 19

Legal Services of Philadelphia (CLS), said, "The Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts and the Pennsylvania
State Police are on target for successful implementation
of automated sealing by the onset date." CLS was instrumental in advocating for and securing passage of the
Clean Slate Act.

Board's announcement noted: "Applicants must currently
pay $8 just to download the application online or to secure
a copy through the mail. Then they must pay $20 for a
criminal history record and $10 for a driving record through
Penn DOT. When the application is complete, the Board of
Pardons collects a $25 processing fee."

Automatic record-sealing, Briant explained, will include
many non-convictions, summary convictions after 10-20
years, and many nonviolent ungraded, second- or thirddegree misdemeanors. For other cases, a petition must be
filed with the court in order to seal records in Pennsylvania.
Once automatic record-sealing begins, attorney fees and
expungement filing fees will no longer impede eligible
individuals who are seeking a fresh start.

"Think of the pardon process as a long-term goal," Briant
said. "It's not quick or easy or overnight." Although
there's no formal restriction on how soon one can apply
for a pardon, she recommends waiting at least five
years after completing probation for a misdemeanor
sentence or 10 years after finishing probation for a felony
sentence before applying for a pardon. "The five-year
clock doesn't start until after probation," she noted.
Briant also strongly recommends collecting at least 10
letters of recommendation during those years of waiting,
as an individual reaches milestones such as attaining
education or employment. Again, all fines, costs and
restitution must be paid.

Expungement process
The expungement process, as outlined in Section 9122
of the PA Crimes Code, continues to be available for
non-convictions. Expunged records are destroyed by local
and state police, local and state courts, jails, prisons,
and probation officers. An individual who is charged but
not convicted, or whose charges are dropped, can have
those charges expunged. A person who has successfully completed a diversionary program, such as the
Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (ARD) or Section
17 probation (for first-time drug offenders), is eligible
to expunge those charges - if probation is served and
fines are paid. "If you completed ARD, you can expunge
it," Briant said.

Because of the complexity of the laws on expungement,
sealing and pardons, it is recommended that
individuals seek help to determine "next steps" for
clearing a record.

Legal Aid of Southeastern PA: Residents of Delaware,
Bucks, Chester and Montgomery counties who wish
to determine if their record is eligible for Clean Slate or
expungement can call LASP's free Centralized Helpline
at 877-429-5994 from 9 a.m. - 1 p.m. Monday through
Friday, or apply online at http://lasp.org/apply-here,
where they can schedule a call-back from a paralegal
or attorney. Briant and other LASP attorneys also hold
expungement clinics and information sessions in LASP's
four-county service area.

Expungements for convictions are more complex.
Convictions for summary offenses (such as disorderly
conduct, public intoxication, underage drinking) must wait
five years, with no new arrests or charges, and all fines and
costs related to the charge must be paid.
For misdemeanors or felony convictions, expungement is
possible only in limited circumstances:

Community Legal Services of Philadelphia and
the Pennsylvania Bar Association have partnered
to provide a free legal consultation, available to all
Pennsylvanians, to help determine Clean Slate eligibility.
Records and other requested information may be
submitted at https://clsphila.org/mycleanslatepa, and a
pro bono volunteer will review the record. Through this
link, CLS also offers extensive resources to help clarify
the complex law.

* The petitioner is 70+ years old and 10 years have
passed since completion of probation; fines, costs and
restitution have been paid; and there are no new arrests
or further charges, or
* If a pardon has been granted, or
* Three years after death.

The Pennsylvania Board of Pardons recently voted to
waive all $63 in fees connected to the pardon process, for
applications filed on or after March 18, 2019. The Pardon

Pennsylvania's Unified Judicial System portal includes
forms: http://www.pacourts.us/forms/for-the-public (scroll
to Expungement). 


http://www.lasp.org/apply-here https://www.clsphila.org/mycleanslatepa http://www.pacourts.us/forms/for-the-public

Bucks Writs - Spring 2019

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