PA Child Protection Bill Has Implications for Criminal Defendants

Posted by Joseph D. Lento | Aug 27, 2021 | 0 Comments

After you've committed a crime in Pennsylvania, you might assume that your criminal record is visible to every state, county, and municipal government agency. That's not always the case, however. Depending on the type of crime you committed and where you committed it, some agencies may be blocked from accessing your criminal record.

A new law signed by Governor Tom Wolf in early July will address one of these barriers to record sharing, allowing agencies investigating instances of child abuse to communicate more easily.

The Criminal History Record Information Act in Pennsylvania

The child protection bill, also known as Act 42, was sponsored by State Rep. Todd Stephens. Stephens formerly worked as a prosecutor in the Montgomery County District Attorney's Office handling child abuse cases and noticed that law enforcement agencies weren't allowed to share some investigative or criminal record history with county youth agencies.

The Criminal History Record Information Act, 18 Pa. C.S.A. §9125 provides rules for collecting, maintaining, disseminating, and receiving criminal history record information throughout Pennsylvania. Individuals with criminal history records have certain rights concerning who has access to the records and how they may be used under the Criminal History Record Information Act. For example, it requires employers to only consider the criminal history that relates directly to the job candidates are applying for. Also, licensing agencies cannot preclude the issuance of a license based solely on criminal history.

The Criminal History Record Information Act also prevented law enforcement agencies from sharing criminal history records with youth services organizations and advocacy groups. Act 42 now enables Children's Advocacy Centers of Pennsylvania, a statewide nonprofit with other groups under its umbrella, to access certain investigative information that would help an investigation of suspected child abuse.

What the New Child Protection Bill Means for Criminal Defendants

Act 42 will allow more agencies to have access to an individual's criminal history. Although the law is not meant to impede or interfere with criminal prosecutions of persons who have committed child abuse, it will allow a criminal justice agency to share information in a central repository or automated system. It will also allow a county agency or Department of Human Services to carry out investigations and provide records of criminal history to nonprofits and advocacy agencies (non-governmental groups).

Future Implications

Although the criminal history record sharing between law enforcement agencies and nonprofits shouldn't impact criminal prosecutions, it could have an impact on a defendant's life afterward. It may be more difficult to get records sealed or expunged, and it may pose a problem for obtaining certain types of employment. It could also prevent those with a previous criminal history from trying to adopt a child later on in life.

A Criminal Defense Attorney Can Help

With changes to record-sharing laws in Pennsylvania, it's vital to have an attorney who understands the updates and what they mean for your case. Our Criminal Law Team has defended countless clients in Pennsylvania courts and will present the strongest possible arguments on your behalf. Contact LLF Law Firm today at 888-535-3686 to schedule a consultation.

About the Author

Joseph D. Lento

"I pride myself on having heart and driving hard to get results!" Attorney Joseph D. Lento passionately fights for the futures of his clients in criminal courtrooms in Philadelphia and across Pennsylvania as well as in New Jersey and nationwide. He does not settle for the easiest outcome, and instead prioritizes his clients' needs and well-being. With unparalleled experience occupying several roles in the criminal justice system outside of being an attorney, Joseph D. Lento can give you valuable behind-the-scenes insight as to what is happening during all phases of the legal process. Joseph D. Lento is licensed in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York, and is admitted pro hac vice as needed nationwide. In the courtroom and in life, attorney Joseph D. Lento stands up when the bell rings!


There are no comments for this post. Be the first and Add your Comment below.

Leave a Comment

Contact Us Today!

The LLF Law Firm Team has decades of experience successfully resolving clients' criminal charges in Philadelphia and the Pennsylvania counties. If you are having any uncertainties about what the future may hold for you or a loved one, contact the LLF Law Firm today! Our Criminal Defense Team will go above and beyond the needs of any client, and will fight until the final bell rings.

This website was created only for general information purposes. It is not intended to be construed as legal advice for any situation. Only a direct consultation with a licensed Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York attorney can provide you with formal legal counsel based on the unique details surrounding your situation. The pages on this website may contain links and contact information for third party organizations - the Lento Law Firm does not necessarily endorse these organizations nor the materials contained on their website. In Pennsylvania, Attorney Joseph D. Lento represents clients throughout Pennsylvania's 67 counties, including, but not limited to Philadelphia, Allegheny, Berks, Bucks, Carbon, Chester, Dauphin, Delaware, Lancaster, Lehigh, Monroe, Montgomery, Northampton, Schuylkill, and York County. In New Jersey, attorney Joseph D. Lento represents clients throughout New Jersey's 21 counties: Atlantic, Bergen, Burlington, Camden, Cape May, Cumberland, Essex, Gloucester, Hudson, Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex, Monmouth, Morris, Ocean, Passaic, Salem, Somerset, Sussex, Union, and Warren County, In New York, Attorney Joseph D. Lento represents clients throughout New York's 62 counties. Outside of Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York, unless attorney Joseph D. Lento is admitted pro hac vice if needed, his assistance may not constitute legal advice or the practice of law. The decision to hire an attorney in Philadelphia, the Pennsylvania counties, New Jersey, New York, or nationwide should not be made solely on the strength of an advertisement. We invite you to contact the Lento Law Firm directly to inquire about our specific qualifications and experience. Communicating with the Lento Law Firm by email, phone, or fax does not create an attorney-client relationship. The Lento Law Firm will serve as your official legal counsel upon a formal agreement from both parties. Any information sent to the Lento Law Firm before an attorney-client relationship is made is done on a non-confidential basis.