As you may know, many of our residents here in the city of Pittsburgh took advantage of “Expungement Day” on Nov. 14. This was possible because of Act 5 of 2016, legislation I was proud to support earlier this year. The newly effective law means individuals with certain low-level misdemeanors on their criminal records can petition the court to request “an order of limited access” to those records, provided that they have remained arrest-free for a period of at least 10 years.
Despite the victory this represents for criminal justice reform in Pennsylvania, which is one of my top priorities as your state representative, the reality is there is still much more work to do.
Something important to keep in mind is that a limited access order is not the same thing as expungement. Expungement is the removal of a conviction from your record, whereas limited access orders means records will still be available to law enforcement agencies and other state agencies, but an individual who obtains relief will not need to disclose those convictions on job applications, for example. Additionally, those records will not be available to the general public from the court.