What is a Pardon?
A pardon is an act of clemency or forgiveness carried out by the Governor of Pennsylvania that is a fundamental step towards completely eliminating a criminal conviction from a person's criminal record. (Although being granted a pardon in Pennsylvania will not clear a criminal record by itself, it is a necessary condition to thereafter petition the Court in the applicable Pennsylvania county to have the criminal charges for which you were pardoned expunged.) Once a pardon is obtained, however, each right and protection that you relinquished as a result of a conviction is restored.
Although the process of obtaining a pardon may be difficult, people with misdemeanors or felony offenses on their criminal record should, when appropriate, consider applying for one. A criminal record is capable of substantially hindering an individual's opportunities. Since it is accessible to the general public, it can limit potential career prospects, prohibit individuals from seeking government aid, and restrict access to other important resources you may need. Many people underestimate just how easily a criminal record is created, as an arrest or seemingly minuscule run-in with law enforcement is enough to substantiate one. Fortunately, the state has established straightforward guidelines as to who is eligible for applying for a pardon and the process of obtaining one.
Who is Eligible for a Pardon?
Pennsylvania allows any state resident with a criminal record to apply for a pardon. Although there are no official standards detailing conditions that must be met to obtain a pardon like many other states, there are individuals who are more likely to receive one than others. The majority of the people who received pardons in the past had records of minor offenses that were committed at least five years ago, with no record of run-ins with law enforcement since (not including traffic offenses). Non-violent crimes such as disorderly conduct and shoplifting are commonly pardoned by the governments. More serious crimes customarily require a person to prove that they're dedicated to abiding by the law to receive a pardon. Generally, the more time a person stays out of trouble, the more likely they are to acquire a pardon.
You should speak with an attorney to determine when is the best time for you to apply for a pardon. A legal professional will be able to ensure when applying for a pardon will be most effective and will give you the most favorable results.
Philadelphia Criminal Defense Attorney
Obtaining a pardon is the only way for you to truly start anew after a criminal conviction. With the help of a legal professional, you can expand employment options, retrieve your right to carry a gun, reap the benefits of the government aid you may need, and improve your life in ways that your previous conviction(s) wouldn't let you. Skilled attorney Joseph D. Lento is here to help you navigate these processes and maximize your chances of obtaining a pardon. Don't hesitate to contact him today to learn how he can help with the Pennsylvania pardon process.