Pennsylvania has joined a growing list of states that allow individuals with convictions for certain lower-level misdemeanor offenses with the right to petition the court for an Order of Limited Access (also known as a Criminal Record Seal). A criminal record seal can be extremely beneficial to individuals who are not eligible for expungement of their criminal records.
Benefits of a Criminal Record Seal
An Order of Limited Access, if granted by the court, would prevent employers, landlords, educational institutions and other agencies from accessing and reviewing your sealed criminal record while conducting a background check. A criminal record seal can greatly increase your employment and housing opportunities in addition to providing peace of mind.
I can determine whether you are eligible for a criminal record seal in Bucks County, Montgomery County or the surrounding counties. Call today for a free initial consultation at (215) 752-5282 or fill out the confidential contact form for an immediate response. Appointments are available after business hours and on weekends.
Pennsylvania Criminal Record Seal
Individuals with criminal convictions for specific misdemeanor offenses identified under the law can petition the court to request that those records be sealed. A sealed criminal record would still be available to law enforcement, the Department of Public Welfare and county children and youth agencies as well as legal, medical, teaching, real estate or nursing agencies that issue professional occupational licenses.
However, a criminal record seal will greatly limit the number of people and agencies that can access your sealed criminal conviction, including employers, landlords and others. Individuals who have been granted a criminal record seal are not required to disclose the prior criminal conviction on employment and housing applications. A sealed criminal record can help to protect your reputation and preserve your privacy.
Eligibility for Pennsylvania Criminal Record Seal
Pennsylvania’s limited access law is found under 18 Pa. C.S.A. § 9122.1. You may be eligible for a criminal record seal of your criminal conviction if all of the following apply:
- You were convicted, pled guilty or were found guilty of an offense that was classified as an ungraded misdemeanor with a penalty not exceeding 2 years or a misdemeanor of the 2nd or 3rd degree; and
- You have not been arrested or prosecuted for any criminal offense for a period of 10 years following release from confinement or supervision for the offense, whichever is later; and
- You have not been convicted of certain disqualifying offenses including any of the following crimes:
- Any felony offenses; or
- Simple assault graded as a 2nd degree misdemeanor; or
- Impersonating a public official; or
- Intimidation or retaliation against a victim or witness; or
- First-degree misdemeanor offenses; or
- Any offense requiring sex offender registration; and
- You have not been convicted of obstruction of a child abuse case; and
- You have not been convicted of 4 or more offenses graded as misdemeanors of the 2nd or 3rd degree; and
- You have paid all fines and costs on the case for which you are requesting the criminal record seal
Offenses Eligible for Criminal Record Seal
Many common lower-level misdemeanor offenses will qualify for a criminal record seal under the limited access law including, drug possession, drug paraphernalia possession, driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, retail theft, trespass and disorderly conduct. I can review your prior criminal conviction to determine if you are eligible for a criminal record seal.
The Criminal Record Seal Application Process
I can file a Petition for Limited Access in the Court of Common Pleas in the county where your DUI charges were filed if you meet the eligibility requirements under the criminal record seal law. The District Attorney will have 30 days to file an objection to the Petition for Limited Access. If no objection is filed, a judge in the Court of Common Pleas will grant the Order for Limited Access if the petitioner is otherwise eligible.
The Criminal Record Seal Hearing
If no objection is filed by the District Attorney, a judge in the Court of Common Pleas will grant an Order for Limited Access if the Petitioner is otherwise eligible. At the time of the hearing, I will present evidence of your character, background and qualifications to support the issuance of the Order of Limited Access. In some cases, it may be necessary for the petitioner to testify during the hearing.
Trusted Guidance at Every Stage of the Process
The process for petitioning the court for a criminal record seal is lengthy and complicated. Petitions for Limited Access are often denied by the court because documents are not filled out properly or because the petition or accompanying documentation is not filed on time. I am highly knowledgeable in all areas of Pennsylvania’s record sealing law, including the procedural requirements for filing the Limited Access Petition. I can help you successfully navigate the complicated Pennsylvania criminal record sealing process.
Take the First Step to Protect Your Future
A criminal conviction on your record can carry severe consequences for your personal, professional and financial future. For those eligible under the law, it is extremely important to take the necessary steps to have your criminal record sealed. I can determine whether you or a loved one is eligible for a criminal record seal in Bucks County, Montgomery County or the surrounding counties. Phone lines are open 24 hours a day at (215) 752-5282. Call today for a free initial consultation or fill out the confidential contact form for an immediate response.