In order to get a pardon, an individual's application must advance through several stages of the pardoning process. This process is notorious for being complex and lengthy. Only with the assistance of an attorney will you be able to maximize your chances of successfully obtaining a pardon.
Once a hearing has been scheduled by the Board of Pardons, you have finally gotten towards the end of the pardoning process. Getting to this step means you've been through an investigation, an interview with a state parole agent, and your application has been approved by at least two members of the board.
Telling Your Story
At a hearing, you will finally get the chance to speak for yourself. Board members have relied on their perception of who they think you are to make decisions thus far. Now that you have been granted the chance to tell your story, you will be able to show them who you really are. What you say in a hearing is crucial. Your words could either convince the board to grant you a pardon or on the contrary, cause them to believe that you aren't sincere. Some people who get to this stage get another person to speak in these hearings to affirm that they deserve a pardon and have been on a straight and narrow path since the commission of a crime. But the best way to ensure you move to the next step is to take the advice of an attorney.
The board typically asks applicants questions that gauge if you are sorry for committing a crime and if you are likely to commit a crime again. Questions about other run-ins with law enforcement and convictions on your record (if any) will possibly be posed to you also. A legal professional will be able to ensure that your answers to these questions are consistent with your story and that you include the information you need to convince the board. Most hearings are merely 15 minutes long, which means you won't have time to explain every little detail. An attorney will be able to help you focus on presenting the important information, like the trouble you've had finding a job and making a living due to a conviction, or the inability to move up on a job because of your criminal record.
The Public Vote
After you speak, the board will take a vote based on what they heard; majority rules in these cases. If at least three board members have been convinced that you deserve a pardon, it will be sent to the Pennsylvania Governor. However, if fewer than three board members approve your application, it will be denied. After a denial, an applicant has to wait one year to reapply, while subsequent denials result in a two-year wait to reapply.
Experienced Philadelphia Defense Attorney
As you can see, the pardoning process is complex. If you are contemplating applying for a pardon, you should consult with an attorney who is well-versed in Pennsylvania's pardoning process. Knowledgeable attorney Joseph D. Lento is here to help you maximize your chances of obtaining a pardon the first time around. Contact him today to learn how he can help with the Pennsylvania pardon process.