Get That Pardon or Expungement and Get On With Your Life
Living with a mark on your criminal record can feel like living with a shadow on your back at all times. Many employers, landlords, educational institutions, and credit loaners will throw out your applications the moment they realize that you have an unclean record. In some cases, the reputational damage caused by just being arrested and never convicted can be devastating, pushing good people out of social circles, losing job opportunities, and generally experiencing less enjoyment in life.
What can be done to correct this unfortunate and unfair situation? Or, must someone with a criminal record always carry that burden with them?
Using Expungement to Close Your Record
In Pennsylvania, expungement can be used to clean or effectively seal undesirable parts of your criminal record. If expungement is approved for a mark on your criminal record, then public parties, like a potential employer, cannot see that mark without first obtaining a warrant. In most cases, the mark will be there but it will say “expunged” and provide no details.
The catch is that in Pennsylvania you cannot expunge a conviction for any felony or misdemeanor. Expungement will only work if your charges were dropped, the case was dismissed, or you received a not guilty verdict. There are a few unique circumstances in which a conviction could be expunged based on the completion of sentencing requirements, though. You should always talk to a trusted Pennsylvania expungement lawyer about your options before deciding to expunge or not.
Pardons for Convictions & Serious Offenses
Since expungement won’t exactly cover the tracks of a misdemeanor or felony charge that led to a conviction, the remaining option is applying for an official pardon. In Pennsylvania, pardons are sent directly to the Governor for more or less forgiveness for committing a crime. If approved, a pardon acts as the ultimate form of cleaning up a criminal record.
Pardons will allow you to:
- Stop complying with any sentencing requirements tied to your conviction.
- Legally act as if the arrest, charges, and conviction never occurred.
- Attempt to have the remaining mark expunged.
Why the Governor of Pennsylvania approves or disproves a pardon application functions on a case-by-case, discretionary basis. For the most part, the Governor, and the Board of Pardons before the Governor, will need to be convinced that either the conviction was unjust, or that you have learned from your mistakes of the past and will never conduct such behavior again.
If your criminal record is making it difficult to get on with your life, then it is time to discover if you are eligible for a pardon or expungement. Scaringi Law and our Harrisburg criminal defense attorneys can hear the details of your case and help you get pointed in the right direction, or guide you through the entire process. Contact us to learn more about our legal services today.