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Understanding “clean slate” and who is eligible in Pennsylvania

On Behalf of | Mar 29, 2022 | Criminal Defense

In Pennsylvania, being accused of a crime and subsequently arrested is challenging in many, many ways. If there is a conviction, there will be concerns not just about the penalties, but the long-term consequences even after the sentence is completed. The person might be aware of the expungement process and how it can clear their record. Others, however, might not be familiar with “clean slate” and how it can benefit them if expungement is not an option. There are certain facts to understand about clean slate and it is only applicable in specific circumstances. Being aware of the process and what it entails is imperative when considering it.

How clean slate works and eligibility requirements

In effect, a clean slate is comparable to the records of a criminal conviction being sealed. With that, they cannot be viewed by the public. This includes the criminal records, summary records and non-conviction records. It is for those whose conviction was for an offense that could result in being incarcerated for a year or more and have completed any court-ordered obligations for 10 years can take this step. It is important to note that not everyone who was convicted of a crime can take part in the clean slate program.

Only those who were convicted of a second or third-degree misdemeanor in which the penalties were two or fewer years in prison can take part. It is also available for those who received a summary conviction. Summary offenses are low-level crimes like shoplifting items of limited value or harassment. In general, people who are charged with a summary offense are cited and fined, but the case can still be found in criminal records and present a challenge to the person’s future. Charges that did not result in a conviction are also eligible for clean slate.

Serious crimes involving violence, firearms and family-related crimes are not eligible for clean slate. It is not available for people who were convicted of a felony; for two or more crimes with a possibility of more than two years in prison; for four or more offenses with at least one year in prison; or for various sex crimes.

When considering clean slate, having help can be crucial

When arrested, lodging a strong criminal defense is imperative. Still, if the case ends with a conviction, there are viable ways to avoid the extended ramifications that can often be problematic in a person’s life. A clean slate is not an expungement, but it does protect people from having the criminal conviction show up on their public records. To explore this possibility and determine if it is worthwhile to pursue, experienced professionals can provide information and assistance.