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 can not 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 3rd and 2nd degree can apply to have the records expunged if they have kept a clean record for 7 and 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 Pennsylvania expungement is not automatic and will still be granted solely at the discretion of the court.