Having a criminal record can be devastating to a person's future career, educational and personal aspirations. Removing a criminal record from one's history should be attempted whenever the likelihood of successfully doing so can be expected. If other means of removing a criminal history, such as accelerated rehabilitative disposition (ARD), are not available, one should consider the process of obtaining a governor's pardon.
A governor's pardon is issued by the Governor of Pennsylvania as an act that completely removes a conviction from an individual's criminal record. It is not something that everyone with a criminal record will be able to take advantage of however. The granting or denial of a pardon depends upon a number of considerations. First and foremost is the nature and grading of the charges for which a person was convicted or entered a plea. Other factors include a person's life history, their character, et cetera.
The process of seeking a pardon begins by filing an application with Pennsylvania's Board of Pardons. Thereafter, the Board will decide whether or not it is interested in hearing a particular individual's case. If the Board denies the applicant, the process ends at that point. However, if the Board chooses to hear a specific case, a hearing will be scheduled to be heard by the Board. Preparation for the hearing is critical, as following the hearing, the Board will vote whether or not to recommend to the Governor that a pardon be granted. If the Board votes to deny the applicant, the process ends at that point. If, however, the Board votes to recommend a pardon, the Governor would then issue the pardon, which is presented to the applicant.
If a pardon is granted, the pardoned individual then needs to schedule a hearing seeking an expungement of their record in the county court from where the conviction originated. I have had the pleasure of representing individuals throughout the process of seeking a governor's pardon. A particular case that comes to mind was a young woman who after trying to represent herself, had been convicted of retail theft. She later contacted me explaining that she had been denied admission to nursing school because of the record.
After successfully obtaining a governor's pardon, expungement of her record was granted. She has since been accepted to nursing school.
If you have questions or would like more information concerning obtaining the expungment of a criminal record, please feel free to contact me.