Pennsylvania Expungement Lawyers
Handling Pardons & Expungements
A pardon is an act of clemency or forgiveness from the Governor of Pennsylvania for a person's crime or crimes. A pardon restores to you all the rights and privileges that had been forfeited on account of a conviction for a criminal or other offense. A pardon is usually the only possible means for removing the stigma of a criminal conviction.
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What is the Effect of a Pardon / Expungement?
If you obtain a pardon, it will relieve you from all the legal disabilities resulting from your conviction. Your status will then be the same as one who never committed the offense. After a pardon is granted, you can obtain an expungement of the record. An expungement is an order of court requiring all relevant law enforcement agencies to expunge (i.e. erase) your record of conviction. The removal of records of conviction can provide many benefits including among others:
- Improvement in your employment, career and promotion prospects.
- Eligibility to obtain professional or occupational licenses.
- Eligibility to hunt and/or receive a concealed carry permit.
- Restoration of the right to possess firearms.
The Pardoning Process
The pardon application process begins when your expungement attorney requests an application on your behalf. Upon receipt of the application from the Board of Pardons (the "Board"), our firm will work with you to complete the application. Scaringi Law will submit your completed application to the Board for its review.
After the Board receives your completed application, it begins its investigation. Agents from the Pennsylvania Board of Probation and Parole conduct investigations on behalf of the Board of Pardons. The Agents investigate the facts surrounding the crime or crimes for which you are requesting a pardon. The investigation includes an interview with you.
Once the Agents have completed their investigation, they will prepare and submit a report to the Board addressing your character at this time. The Board will review this report at what is referred to as a "merit review" of your application. If two (2) out of five (5) Board Members approve of your application, you will be granted a hearing.
There are no minimum eligibility requirements for applying for a pardon, nor criteria which the Board must examine in evaluating an application. However, the Board has compiled a non-exclusive list of factors which it may consider when reviewing an application.
What Are the Factors Considered by the Board:
Each application is reviewed on a case-by-case basis. Satisfying all of the following does not automatically guarantee an application will be approved, nor does failing to satisfy any of the following automatically result in rejection of an application.
- How much time has elapsed since the commission of the crime or crimes for which you are seeking the pardon?
- Have you complied with all court requirements?
- Have you made positive changes to your life since the offense(s)?
- What is the specific need for clemency (i.e. the pardon)?
- What is the impact on the victim(s) of the offense(s)?
What is the Process if You Are Granted a Hearing?
At the hearing, you will be given an opportunity to tell your story to the Board. The Board Members may ask you questions during your allotted time. The Board will then vote on whether or not to recommend your application to the Governor for review. An application will be recommended if three (3) out of five (5) Board Members vote to recommend the application. If your application is recommended to the Governor, he will review the application and decide whether or not to grant the pardon.
What Happens if Your Application is Rejected by the Board or the Governor?
If your application does not receive the necessary votes for a public hearing, for recommendation to the Governor or the Governor rejects your application, then your application is done. There is no appeal of the Board's decision or the Governor's decision. You may reapply after waiting one year from the first denial and two years from a second or subsequent denial.
What Happens if the Governor Grants Your Pardon?
If the Governor grants your pardon, we will then begin the expungement process, which will result in a removal of all criminal records associated with the arrest and conviction of the crime or crimes for which you have received the pardon.
How Long Will My Pardons Case Take?
Due to the high volume of pardon applications, the process is lengthy. The approximate lengths of time to complete each stage of the pardons process is set forth below. Keep in mind these time frames are only approximations and due vary.
- Approximately 2-3 years from time an application is submitted until it is before the Board of Pardons for merit reviews.
- Approximately 1-2 months for a hearing if the Board approves a hearing during its merit review.
- Approximately 2-12 months for the Governor to render his decision, should the Board approve the application.
For more information on the pardon/expungement process, please contact Scaringi Law to schedule an initial consultation with our attorney right away.