Factors Considered in Pennsylvania Pardons Process

In order to be considered for a pardon, a completed application and supportive materials must be submitted to the Pennsylvania Board of Pardons. When considering whether to grant a pardon, the Board of Pardons considers the following list of factors when reviewing pardon applications:

  • Time: How much time has passed since the person has committed a criminal act? This factor evidences that a person has been reformed or rehabilitated by the criminal process. The longer the period of time, the better. For more severe crimes, such as felony drug delivery or for more lengthy criminal records, there is a longer period of time that would be required before receiving a pardon.
  • Successful completion of sentence: Did the person successfully complete any and all court-ordered requirements as part of a sentence?
  • Positive changes to life: What has the person done to move forward with their life and show that they learned their lesson and have been rehabilitated? The board will consider the applicant's advancement in career and educational endeavors, completion of community service, and family status.
  • Need: Why does the applicant want a pardon? The need should be presented to the board in as specific a manner as possible.
  • Victim: What is the impact of a pardon on the victim? The victim is notified of the pardon application and may appear at the hearing to speak or may submit a confidential writing for the board's consideration.

The list of factors above is relatively broad and not clearly defined. To increase the likelihood that a pardon is granted, you should talk to an experienced Pennsylvania pardon attorney. For example, an experienced pardon lawyer can probably advise as to how much time must generally pass before the Board would consider granting a pardon in various misdemeanor and felony cases.

While State College criminal defense lawyer Jason S. Dunkle does not handle pardons, you can contact him to discuss a referral to an experienced Pennsylvania pardon lawyer. Call 814-954-1094 or email him for more information.