August 9, 2017By Brian Manchester
If you plead guilty or were convicted of an offense that is not eligible for a limited expungement the only other way to remove the offense from your Pennsylvania criminal background is through the pardon process. This process is very long and there is a significant waiting period to even be heard for the pardon. Not everyone will be able to receive a pardon as there are multiple steps that an individual must go through. If you fail just one step along the way it could mean a denial of the pardon. Even if you have successfully completed the pardon process by getting the board of pardons to recommend a pardon, it does not mean that the Governor of Pennsylvania will grant the pardon.
The first thing you have to do is submit an application for the pardon. This application is provided at the Pennsylvania Board of Pardons website. There is an application fee of $25.00. Once the application is completed you will receive confirmation via a letter from the board. At this point an Agent from the Board will contact you to investigate the possibility of the pardon. You must make yourself available to them for your interview and any information that they require must be submitted to them. They investigate the facts surrounding the crime(s) for which you are requesting a pardon and prepare a report concerning your present personal status. Items that will be looked into are your residence, marital status, employment status, other resources and debts, club memberships, religious affiliation, education, military service, and reputation throughout the community. If you are an inmate the Department of Corrections will create this report. All legal entities involved in the offense will be contacted about the request for a pardon for their impute into the possible granting of the pardon.
Once the report is created it is submitted to the board of pardons who will review the report and if two out of the five members approve you will then be granted a hearing. Otherwise the process is over and you will have to try again after 12 more months have passed or 24 months if you have already received one denial. If you are incarcerated under a life sentence or for a violent crime then three board member must approve for a hearing. If a hearing is granted all parties involved in the original offense will be notified, as will the local newspapers for the general public.
At the Hearing you will have only fifteen minutes to state your case to the board of pardons. These hearings are held in the Supreme Court Courtroom in Harrisburg. Speakers in support and those against will also be permitted to speak at the hearing.
After the hearings the board of pardons will leave the courtroom for a meeting, and then will return to deliver their findings. For your pardon to be forwarded on to the Governor of Pennsylvania you must receive a majority of the board of pardons in favor of the pardon. If you are an inmate on a life or death sentence the result must be unanimous. If not then your pardon is over and you can try again in 12 more months have passed or 24 months if you have already received one denial. If you are found in favor the recommendation for a pardon if forwarded on to the Governor of Pennsylvania
Reconsideration – A request for reconsideration of any decision may be made to the Board. The applicant must show a change in circumstances since the application was filed, or other compelling reasons, sufficient to justify reconsideration. Dissatisfaction with the Board’s decision is not grounds to request reconsideration.
Obviously the best way to prevent any of these issues is to not be convicted at all. Then you will not have to worry about obtaining a pardon.
It is extremely important to contact an experienced law firm right away if you or someone you know is facing criminal charges in Pennsylvania. If you, your son, daughter, or loved one in Pennsylvania has been arrested for a crime in state or federal court in Pennsylvania you need legal representation Here at Manchester and Associates we represent people across the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. For a free consultation we can be contacted at 1-800-243-4878.