Pennsylvania Expungement Lawyers

How to Get a Pardon in PA

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, and is usually the only possible means for removing the stigma of a criminal conviction.

Our Harrisburg criminal defense attorney handles the following types of cases:

  • State Pardons – While you may not have your misdemeanor or felony conviction expunged, you may request a pardon. A pardon involves setting your criminal conviction aside, which is essentially a dismissal. This allows your charges to not be visible on future background searches.
  • Federal and Presidential Pardons – A federal or presidential pardon may be passed 5 years after being released from confinement or conviction. Aside from a few exceptions, these petitions cannot and should not be filed unless there are other forms of relief available, and should not be submitted by anyone who is on parole, probation, or supervised release.
  • Expungements – An expungement is the destruction of your previous criminal record, and it is extremely powerful throughout the judicial system. Once an expungement goes through, you can truthfully and lawfully claim you have never been arrested, accused, or charged with a crime.
  • Limited Access – Limited access prevents your criminal record from being viewed, and allows you to legally refuse to reveal any information regarding your criminal record. You can request limited access with the help of our aggressive and experienced Harrisburg criminal defense lawyer of Scaringi Law. Limited access is not available for 1st degree misdemeanors, as well as most felonies.

To learn more about your legal options, call (717) 775-7195 today!

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 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 PA Pardon 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, our Harrisburg criminal defense lawyer will help you complete the application, and then submit it to the Board for review.


After the Board receives your completed application, the investigation begins. Agents from the Pennsylvania Board of Probation and Parole conduct investigations on behalf of the Board of Pardons. Agents investigate facts surrounding the crime for which you are requesting a pardon, which includes an interview with you.


Once agents have completed their investigation, they prepare and submit a report to the Board, addressing your character. The Board will review this report at what is referred to as a "merit review" of your application. If 2 out of 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 it may consider when reviewing an application.

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.

The following factors are considered by the board:

  • 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, which will occur if 3 out of 5 Board Members vote to recommend the application. If 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, the expungement process begins, resulting in a removal of all criminal records associated with the arrest and conviction of the crime.

How Long Will My Pardons Case Take?

Due to the high volume of pardon applications, the process is lengthy. Completion of each stage of the pardons process is set forth below, and these time frames are only approximations and may 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 Harrisburg criminal defense attorney right away.

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