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New Record Sealing Law in Pennsylvania: What You Need to Know

On November 14, 2016, a new law takes effect in Pennsylvania which allows certain criminal convictions to be permanently sealed. This law allows these records to be sealed from employers and prohibits criminal justice agencies (police, probation, district attorney's offices, etc.) from disclosing the sealed information. Further, once sealed, a person is under no duty to disclose the conviction to anyone other than criminal justice agencies when required. This means that a sealed conviction no longer has to be disclosed to a potential employer.

In order to have your records sealed, the conviction and penalty must have occurred 10 or more years ago. Charges that are eligible to be sealed include many second degree misdemeanors, third degree misdemeanors or ungraded misdemeanors. Common convictions include first offense DUIs, possession of marijuana, possession of drug paraphernalia, and certain theft, trespassing and firearm violations.

The ability to withhold minor convictions from a potential employer was one of the main factors in passing the legislation. Now, these 10 year old convictions will no longer hinder a person’s chances for employment or promotion.

Record sealing differs from an expungement, which is the complete destruction of the conviction and all charging documents. Rather, sealing the record closes the files permanently so that the conviction will no longer show up on a criminal history background check.

For more information on who is eligible to have their record sealed and how the sealing is completed, visit our Record Sealing page at And, if you or someone you know has been convicted of a crime and would like to discuss the possibility of sealing the record, contact the Law Office of Michael F. Niznik at 267-589-0601 for a free consultation.

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