State College Pardon of Pennsylvania Conviction Lawyer

Pennsylvania law generally does not allow for an expungement of felony convictions and only allows for misdemeanor convictions to be expunged in limited circumstances, so another option is a pardon.  A pardon is basically the setting aside of a criminal conviction. If a person receives a pardon of a criminal conviction, the charge is basically treated as if it were dismissed.  While you would think that “dismissed” means removed from the records or that the records are destroyed.  That is not how the process works.  A dismissed or pardon charge simply updates the records to show that the charge was dismissed or pardoned, but the record still exists.  The good news is that a dismissed charge can be expunged, but the person must then go through the Pennsylvania expungement process.  By expunging the pardoned charge, the record would not appear at all on future background searches.

Also, a pardon generally allows for the restoration of rights or privileges that may have been taken as a result of the convictions.  For example, convictions of felony offenses, some DUI offenses, and misdemeanor domestic violence crimes prohibit a person from possessing a firearm under both state and Federal laws.   By having such convictions set aside because of a pardon, the person can restore their constitutional right to possess a firearm.

The Pardon Process in Pennsylvania

The pardon process starts by submitting an application.  A hearing is held before the Board of Pardons Pardons, the members of the board question the applicant, and the Board then either recommends or does not recommend that the person receive a pardon.  The Board considers various factors in determining whether a pardon should be granted or denied.  Two primary factors are time and whether or not the person got into trouble again.  While a person can request a pardon at any point, meaning they can seek a pardon immediately after sentencing, but the Board is not going to grant such a request.  The more severe the charge or more severe the incident, the more time that is generally required before the Board will legitimately consider a pardon request.  The Board wants to see that there has been a period of time in which the person has been reformed and is no longer breaking the law.  Many lawyers believe that the wait time should be close to 10 years before submitting a pardon application, but that time can based upon the facts and circumstances in a case.  There is no clear cut rule.  The Board considers whether or not to recommend the pardon, informs the governor of their opinion, and the ultimate decision is actually made by the governor.  From submission of the application until receiving a decision, it is often 3 years, so a long and slow process.

Most of the work in a pardon case comes when gathering the materials to submit along with the application and then preparing a client for the hearing.  While an attorney is not required to request a pardon, you should consult with an experienced pardon attorney. A pardon lawyer knows the types of things to emphasize to the Board and thereby increase the likelihood that the pardon will be granted.  If you are going to invest 3 years into a process to remove a criminal record or restore your right to own a gun, then you should make sure that it is done right and thereby increase the likelihood of success.

Contact an attorney at JD Law at 814-954-7622 to discuss your legal options with regard to cleaning up a prior criminal record.