Pennsylvania State Senate Passes Expanded Expungement Bill

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Attorney Jenna Thorne says that the expungement law that passed the Pennsylvania Senate today will save taxpayers money and reduce crime rates

Expungement Attorney Jenna Thorne

Expungement Attorney Jenna Thorne

This bill provides needed relief for many deserving people.

Pennsylvania could soon become the latest state to expand their expungement law and provide more former offenders a second chance. According to the Pennsylvania Senate web site, the Senate voted unanimously today to pass Senate Bill 391, which allows some offenders with misdemeanor convictions to expunge their conviction after satisfying a waiting period.

“This bill provides needed relief for many deserving people. It will also benefit the citizens of Pennsylvania, because the new law will help to reduce recidivism rates by allowing more former offenders to secure gainful employment and support themselves,” said Jenna Thorne, an attorney who handles expungement cases for

Senate Bill 391, which is sponsored by State Senator Tim Solobay, modernizes Pennsylvania’s expungement law by allowing some offenders with low-level misdemeanors to expunge their record after they have proven that they are rehabilitated by satisfying a substantial waiting period.

Under the current law, individuals are not able to expunge misdemeanor convictions, no matter what amount of time has passed, until he or she is over seventy years of age and has not been convicted of any offense for five years or until the person has been dead for three years. SB 391 would allow individuals who have misdemeanors in the second or third degree to apply to have their criminal records expunged if they have not reoffended in seven years for second degree misdemeanors or ten years for third degree misdemeanors.

“This bill recognizes genuine efforts at rehabilitation; it makes sense for our justice system and it makes sense for taxpayers,” Solobay has stated. The law would reduce crime rates, lower unemployment, and would stop the medieval practice of labeling low-level offenders as criminals for life. The Pennsylvania District Attorney’s Association and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Pennsylvania have announced their support for the reform.

SB 391 was unanimously approved by the Senate Appropriations Committee on June 17, 2013 and had since been awaiting a vote by the full Senate. The bill now heads to the State House of Representatives. If this legislation is enacted, Pennsylvania will join 19 other states that have expanded their expungement laws in the past five years.

For more information on Senate Bill 391, please visit

Jenna Thorne is a licensed expungement attorney with the law firm of She can be reached at 412-568-1432.

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Mathew Higbee
since: 01/2010
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