Factors Considered in Pennsylvania Pardon 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 the request, the Board considers the following list of factors:
- 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 the Board would want to see before recommending the pardon.
- Successful completion of sentence: Did the person successfully complete any and all court-ordered requirements as part of a sentence? While this makes sense, I have had many people call me and seek a pardon even though they had not completed all sentencing requirements, such as payment of fines and costs. In a normal case, the Board will not legitimately consider a request unless all fines and costs have been paid.
- 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? Jobs, ability to pass a background search to volunteer at school or coach, possess a firearm?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. Contact an attorney at JD Law at 814-954-7622 to discuss your situation and consider legal options.