How Hard Is It to Get a Pardon in Pennsylvania?
Getting a pardon in Pennsylvania can be a difficult, lengthy process. It involves filing an application with the Pennsylvania Board of Pardons and submitting extensive documents, including character references and evidence of rehabilitation. This process can be overwhelming and, at times, disheartening. It's important to understand that after filing an application, it can take months or even years to receive an answer. During this time, applicants may feel like they are left in limbo waiting for results without any certainty about what will happen.
The emotional toll of seeking a pardon can be draining and difficult to cope with. Many feel helpless while they wait, but it’s important to understand that you don't have to go it alone. At Scaringi Law, we understand how difficult seeking a pardon in Pennsylvania can be, and we are here to help make the process go as smoothly as possible. We provide experienced legal representation and guidance throughout the entire pardon process, offering compassionate support, and advocating for you every step of the way. Our experienced pardon attorneys are familiar with the workings of the Board of Pardons, and we can help ensure your application is completed correctly and efficiently so that you can get an answer as soon as possible.
Why Seek a Pardon?
A pardon can be an invaluable opportunity to have your criminal record expunged and start fresh. A Pennsylvania pardon is a state-level executive clemency that means the Board of Pardons has granted you forgiveness for the crime or crimes committed. Having your record cleared allows you to apply for jobs without worrying about potential employers seeing past convictions on your background check. It can also open up more educational opportunities to you by allowing you access to scholarships and other educational programs that you might otherwise have been ineligible for due to a prior conviction(s), and it can also open up eligibility for professional or occupational licenses that exclude those with prior convictions. Lastly, having a clean slate can help relieve stress and the emotional burden caused by carrying around the a past conviction despite all the work you have done to move forward with your life.
Understanding the Pennsylvania Pardons Process
The Pennsylvania pardon process can be complicated, and it's important to understand all the necessary steps before you file an application. Knowing how the process will proceed ahead of time can help you to prepare for each step logistically and emotionally.
Here are the key elements of the pardons process in Pennsylvania:
- Complete an application: The first step in seeking a pardon is filling out an application with the Pennsylvania Board of Pardons. This includes providing detailed information about your criminal history, current residence, and any other relevant facts.
- Submit supporting documents: Along with your completed application, you must also submit several documents that serve as evidence of good character and rehabilitation. These may include personal references from friends, employers, or community members who are willing to attest to your positive behavior since conviction; prison records and other court documents; evidence of substance abuse treatment; and/or proof of community service or volunteer work.
- Pennsylvania Board of Probation and Parole investigation: After submitting the application and documents, the Pennsylvania Board of Probation and Parole will conduct their own investigation. This will involve a review of the materials you provided in your application and may also include an interview with the applicant. The goal is to ensure that the applicant has indeed been rehabilitated and poses no harm to society. Once this process is complete, they will make a report to the Board of Pardons.
- Merit review by Board of Pardons: After the investigation is complete, the Board of Pardons will conduct a merit review to determine whether to grant a pardon. The Board of Pardons will carefully consider all the evidence presented and make a decision based on whether they believe that the applicant has been rehabilitated and poses no harm to society. If 2 out of the 5 Board Members approve your application, you will be granted a hearing.
After submitting your application and supporting documents, you as an applicant will need to wait for the Pennsylvania Board of Probation and Parole to conduct their investigation and then to get a response from the Board of Pardons. Depending on how busy they are, this process may take anywhere from months to years. During this time, it's important not to lose hope as decisions can take longer than expected.
If you are granted a hearing by the Board of Pardons, you must attend and present your case to them. This is a critical part of the process, so it's important to be prepared. An experienced pardon attorney can help prepare for the hearing and ensure that all necessary documents are in order.
In addition to these steps, it's helpful to understand the criteria that the board uses when deciding whether to grant a pardon in Pennsylvania.
These factors include:
- Age at the time of conviction
- Length of time since conviction
- Severity and impact of offense
- Prior criminal record
- Evidence of rehabilitation efforts
- Overall character
The legal team at Scaringi Law has extensive experience helping our clients through each step in the pardons process in Pennsylvania. We are dedicated to helping our clients pursue pardons by providing personalized representation throughout the application and review process so they have peace-of-mind during this often overwhelming process. With our knowledge and experience on your side, we can help you build a strong case for clemency.
If you are seeking a pardon in Pennsylvania, reach out to us online or call us at (717) 775-7195 to schedule a consultation with one of our experienced pardon attorneys.