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A Pardon can remove a criminal conviction...It just might take awhile

June 2, 2018

I field calls all the time from individuals with criminal convictions seeking to get their record expunged.   Unfortunately, in Pennsylvania that is usually not possible.  If you have been convicted of a criminal offense graded as a misdemeanor of the 1st degree or higher, even some 2nd degree misdemeanors, you are not eligible for an expungement unless you are over 70 years old. 

 

In Pennsylvania the only way these individuals can remove a conviction from their record is a Governor's pardon.  The Board of Pardons oversees all the pardons and clemency petitions filed in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.  They are currently receiving thousands a year and only a few individuals a year will receive a hearing in front of the Board in Harrisburg.  Currently, the process is taking between 3 to 4 years before you know if the Board has voted to give you a hearing. 

 

The application process can be a complicated and difficult task for individuals seeking a pardon.  In most situations the Board will not even consider a pardon unless the individual accepts responsibility.  That can be a tough and emotional situation for those who are or feel as if they were wrongly convicted.  In addition, the  biggest thing the Board looks at when considering a pardon is how much time has passed since your conviction and what the individual has done since. 

 

Many people call asking to apply for a pardon the minute they get finish probation and parole.  That simply is not enough time, the Board wants to see years, I usually recommend at least 10, of good behavior and self improvement before even giving an pardon a serious thought. 

 

If you are one of the fortunate individuals who are given a hearing in Harrisburg, you will be required to make your case before the Board in just a few minutes.  The Board is comprised of 5 members and a majority vote is required for the Board to recommend your pardon to the Governor. 

 

If the Governor does grant your pardon the process still isn't over.  Even though your conviction has been forgiven by the Commonwealth, the record of that conviction is still accessible for all to see.  However, once you have been granted a pardon you may then file for an expungement.

 

I have successfully obtained pardons for clients in the past and would be happy to assist individuals in seeking a pardon in Pennsylvania or just answer any questions you may have about the process.

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