HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — The first phase of Pennsylvania's "clean slate" law that seals lower-level, nonviolent crimes from public review has gone into effect.

The Philadelphia Inquirer reports as of Wednesday, people can petition for certain misdemeanors, such as simple assault, intoxicated driving and theft, to be sealed.

Misdemeanor records will be automatically sealed in June if a defendant has gone a decade without a new conviction. The law also seals records of arrests that did not result in convictions.

The law does not expunge convictions, and sealed convictions will still be visible to police, courts and prosecutors.

Community Legal Services of Philadelphia says it will provide volunteer lawyers to help people see if their records can be sealed starting in January.

The organization has an online form where people can request assistance.


Information from: The Philadelphia Inquirer, http://www.inquirer.com