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No. You are not obligated to disclose any information if your record has been sealed. Similarly, the court and its employees may not disclose any sealed information to the public or employers checking for criminal backgrounds.
Yes. While some offenses may not be eligible for Clean Slate (automated sealing), some offenses, mainly some M1s, may still be eligible to be sealed through filing a petition in the Court of Common Pleas through the Clerk of Courts Office. A judge will then review the petition and decide whether to grant or deny said petition through an order. If granted, the eligible offenses will be sealed.
Example: If convicted of a first degree misdemeanor (M-1) Retail Theft, that charge will not be eligible for automatic sealing because first degree misdemeanors are not included under Clean Slate. However, the charge may be sealed by court petition for limited access under Act 5 of 2016 and ordered by a court judge.
Absolutely! If your record is eligible to be expunged under current Pennsylvania law, you can continue to file for expungement even after Clean Slate goes into effect. Clean Slate/Limited Access merely shields the public and potential employers from seeing your criminal record, but it does not destroy the record. Expungement is the only mechanism to permanently and completely remove criminal history record information. Petitioning for expungement greatly increases the possibility that your past doesn’t harm your future!
Note: you can generally seek expungement for cases in which you were not convicted (e.g. charges were dismissed, withdrawn, nolle prossed (never processed), or you were found “not guilty”), diversion cases like ARD where you have completed your sentence, and summary convictions after five years without arrest.
Individuals will not be notified that their case has been sealed. You may look up your case on the AOPC website. Cases that have been fully sealed will come back as a “No Cases Found” search result. Cases that have been partially sealed will only display offenses that were not eligible for Clean Slate. For more information, visit the criminal filing office at the Chester County Clerk of Courts Office.
All requests for case file information must be made at the Court of Common Pleas. As a case primary participant (i.e. Defendant) you may request proof that the entire case, or part of a case, has been sealed. There is no charge for this. You will need proof of your identity. The Clerk of Courts may provide a report listing all offenses that have been sealed and a copy of the Administrative Docket (i.e. Order) under which the offenses were sealed.
If you believe your case should have been sealed under Clean Slate but hasn’t, here are a few reasons:
For more information, contact the Clerk of Courts office at 610-344-6135