Supporting SB391 to reform PA Expungement Law

2013 Law Changes to Pennsylvania Expungement Cases

State Senator Tim Solobay recently reintroduced a bill, Senate Bill 391, to allow for more leniency in expungement law. The current law states that crimes other than summary offenses cannot be expunged until after the offender turned 70 years old or has been deceased for more than three years. With the new bill, which was officially amended on February 12, 2012 with a 14-0 vote, individuals who have misdemeanors of the 2nd and 3rd degree can apply to have the records expunged if they have kept a clean record for 7-10 years respectively.

Democratic Senator Tim Solobay is adamant about getting this bill to pass after a similar senate bill, Senate Bill 1220, failed to make it to a floor vote. Solobay has been cited stating that the major intent of this bill is to offer more opportunities for former offenders to find jobs, and consequently lower recidivism rates. If this Bill passes, those who are eligible under the new expungement law can potentially change their lives and remove the stigma that follows a criminal judgment.

This bill however, does not apply to all misdemeanor offenses. Specifically, it does not apply to offenses punishable by more than one year in prison or pertaining to certain forms of assault, sex offense, cruelty to animals, firearms offenses, and certain other crimes. The bill also notes that expungement is not automatic and will still be granted solely at the discretion of the court.



    I would just like it off my record period. I paid my debt to society in 1990 and have to jump through hoops to get it off.

  2. Domestic Violence Against Men

    Excellent. To be sure.

  3. eileen evans

    I have been told by penn dept of transportation my driving record remains on my record for 10 years even though I completed ARD and the law charges it as a first offense.
    I am certain to lose my job as a community dietitian for hundreds of clients with intellectual and physical disabilities.

    • Wayne Jacobs

      If you was convicted after your 25th birthday. This bill would not help you.

  4. Kathleen Kelly

    I totally support this proposed legislation.

  5. Erica Pugh

    I was just denied a job because I have misdemeanors on my background check. This is just awful. I feel as though I did what I was suppose to do I completed probation paid my fines and I am still suffering because companies want to judge my character by mistakes I made in the past. Give me a break. Also I feel like I am still on Probation if you ask me cause I still have to wait 7-10yrs before I can get an expungement. Why am I still paying for my past mistakes. I just want to be free so that I can advance in society.

    • Dave

      Erica, I have to agree with you. I just lost my job today because we had some miscommunication upon interviewing. Background came back and I was terminated. Been honest from the door and I have to say. At times it isn’t the best opinion because those experiences like myself and you had makes us not want to apply for jobs. We feel we’re screwed either way.

    • Kelly

      I totally understand what everyone is experiencing. I too have made terrible choices in the past, and because of them my kids and I pay.
      I can’t get a great paying job because of my record and I’m college educated. It totally stinks. How are we ever going to be able to redeem ourselves if we can’t get a fair chance in society?
      It’s been over 7 years for me and I would really like to get my record sealed or expunged. How does one do this??

  6. Anique

    I feel like 7-10 years is too long. I have paid my debt to society and I haven’t been in any trouble since. I am just trying to get back on my feet, but one little misdemeanor is still a hold on my life, career and it’s unfair. I think at least 5 years is a reasonable time frame not 7-10.

  7. Kurt Canty

    It would be nice if this bill applied to all non-violent offenders. I am still getting denied positions for my sole conviction which is now 18 years old. Since completing probation 13 years ago, I have never been arrested. This is ridiculous.

    • Power Engineer

      Have you written to your state legislatures? The SB391 is in hands of PA legislature we all must write our law makers that we are joining thousands of Pennsylvanians to request you to consider amending the SB391 to “include low level, non-violent felonies” eligible for expungement especially if the offenders were younger and who have reformed themselves . The federal government and many other states ( Indiana for one) has a very good bill called the “second chance” which covers non violent low level felonies.

  8. Richard Grammes

    I pleaded guilty to a charge of simple assault domestic violence
    in year 2000. I will be 70 years old April 5, 2014. I have had
    no charges of any kind against my record since the incident. I
    have been unable to obtain employment due to this criminal
    history. I obviously would very much like have a clean record
    and are very much any legislation that would clear my record.

  9. Vincent Costello

    What about a felony drug charge? Is it true that if you can not get a pardon, you can not get this offense expunged? Can you please explain the Patient Care Act? My last conviction was 7-2003 and I have had no offenses since. Is it over (no record) 7-2013? When will I be truly out of the woods on this particular offense?

  10. cindy

    I just got off probation for crim mischief.. can I get this expunged? I really want to get a job.

  11. Nathaniel Edwards

    I support the bill, it is not those in certain trouble are criminals, of course they are, in the eyes of the law. But I think some of them are mistakes they made and lets forgive those who are non- violent criminals.

  12. Jean

    Why 7-10 years? That seems a little long for some misdemeanors. If you have paid your fines and off probation for a few years why can’t some charges be expunged. With todays society, economic condtions and liberization we need to look at certain cases and give people back there lives so they can be productive

  13. Bob P.

    I wholeheartedly support this Bill even though it won’t help me.
    I was convicted in 1984 on the 3rd degree felony charge of “Dissemination or publication of false or materially misleading advertisement” (CS13A3) because I was caught in possession of caffeine pills which I had purchased via mail order. I was not selling these pills, but given the quantity and that there were no markings on the container I had them in… I was in trouble. Applying for and keeping jobs has been the biggest problem due only to my record. If only it could be sealed after 20 years.

  14. David Keller

    I agree with your bill 391. I believe every one should have a second chance. They are not a criminal if they have made a mistake once in there life and pay forever for it. I took 20 gallons of gasoline and 2 hubcaps back in 1963 and was charge with a felony at age 18. I am now age 70 and would like to get it expunged. No one will help. If you can help me please let me know, thank you.