Pennsylvania Pardon Process
In Pennsylvania, the only way to set aside a misdemeanor or felony conviction is through the pardon process. A pardon will basically erase the conviction, which means that it will restore rights that are lost becuase of the conviction, like the rigth to possess a firearm.
Pardon Board Considers Application
The pardon process starts by submitting an application. The application is reviewed by members of the hearing board to determine whether or not the matter should proceed to the interview process with the panel. Some pardon applications do not make it to the interview process and are simply rejected. If the matter proceeds to hte interview, then the client attends and is questioned by the 5-member board.
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, writing the personal statement portion of the application, and then preparing a client for the hearing.
Experienced Pennsylvania Pardon Attorney
While an attorney is not required to request a pardon, you should consult with an experienced Pennsylvania 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.
If your conviction is in Pennsylvania, contact an attorney at JD Law via email or at 814-689-9139 to discuss your legal options with regard to cleaning up a prior criminal record. If your conviction is in another state, then you need to contact a lawyer that is licensed to practice law in that state.