Pardons

What is a Pardon?

A pardon is an act of clemency granted by the executive branch (Governor or President) which essentially grants forgiveness for past crimes or wrongs and, in the State of Pennsylvania, qualifies you to seek expungement of your records.  The process of obtaining a Pennsylvania Pardon can be lengthy and complicated.  Our experienced Pennsylvania pardon attorney at Dusharm Law LLC is ready to aggressively pursue a pardon on your behalf.  Contact us at (717) 204-7820 so we can discuss your situation and develop a comprehensive strategy to maximize your chances of success. 

What Are the Benefits of a Pardon?

A pardon is an act of clemency granted by the executive branch (Governor or President) which essentially grants forgiveness for past crimes or wrongs and, in the State of Pennsylvania, qualifies you to seek expungement of your records.  The process of obtaining a Pennsylvania Pardon can be lengthy and complicated.  Our experienced Pennsylvania pardon attorney at Dusharm Law LLC is ready to aggressively pursue a pardon on your behalf.  Contact us at (717) 204-7820 so we can discuss your situation and develop a comprehensive strategy to maximize your chances of success. 

EMPLOYMENT

Many employers look at criminal records when making hiring decisions.  Once you successfully receive a pardon and expungement, employers will no longer learn of these charges when conducting official criminal history background checks. 

LICENSING

Many professional licensing boards will refuse to issue licenses to applicants who have criminal records. Removal of these records by way of applying for pardon and expungement may open doors you previously found closed to you. 

2ND AMENDMENT RIGHTS

Many offenses carry with them consequences for exercising your 2nd Amendment rights, such as possessing a firearm or hunting.  If you have a criminal record, it is recommended that you consult an attorney before attempting to purchase a firearm to confirm whether you are eligible to purchase a firearm.  Removing the record of your arrest and conviction by way of receiving a pardon and expungement will remove any 2nd Amendment disability associated with those charges. 

CHILD CUSTODY

Your criminal history may become a factor that will be used against you if you become involved in a court case to obtain or retain child custody and visitation rights to your minor children

VOLUNTEER WORK

Many parents enjoy volunteering with their children’s school or other extra-curricular activities, such as coaching sports teams, attending field trips and the like.  These activities often require successful completion of a criminal history background check. 

HOUSING

Many landlords now require background checks and will refuse to rent homes or apartments to individuals with a criminal record. 

SECURITY CLEARANCE

Even if your employer does not directly require a background check before you are hired, if the business contracts with governmental entities or schools, you may need a background check to obtain the needed security clearance to work on those projects, which can be difficult if not impossible to obtain with a criminal history. 

All of the above situations can be improved or alleviated if you successfully obtain a pardon and expungement.  Contact our experienced team at Dusharm Law LLC at (717) 204-7820 so we can discuss your situation and determine the best strategy to help you move forward with your life. 

What is the Pardon Process?

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FILLING THE APPLICATION

The pardon process begins when we file an application with the Board of Pardons on your behalf.  We will help you prepare the application and gather all required materials to submit in support of your application. 

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INVESTIGATION

After your application is accepted by the Board, and all contents are verified, the Board will appoint a member of the probation and parole department to conduct an investigation of your application.  They may seek input from any victim(s) from your case, as well as other individuals such as the assigned judge, district attorney, and investigating officer who handled your case.  You will be interviewed during this process and required to provide certain documentation to the investigator.  We will assist you in preparing for your interview.  A report will be submitted to the Board of Pardons.

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MERIT REVIEW

During the “Merit Review Process,” your application will be reviewed by the Board of Pardons who will vote to determine whether you should be granted a clemency hearing.  You will be granted a hearing before the board if two of the five board members vote to grant you a public hearing. 

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PARDON HEARING

We will receive notification of the date and time of your scheduled pardon hearing, which will most likely occur in person at the Pennsylvania Supreme Court courtroom in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.  During the hearing, you will be afforded 15 minutes to present your case and answer questions as to why the Board should recommend that you receive a pardon.  We will assist you throughout this process.  At the conclusion of the hearing, the Board will vote, and if three of the five board members vote in favor of your application, your application will be forwarded to the governor with a recommendation that you receive a pardon. 

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GOVERNOR DECISION

Once the Board recommends a pardon, your case will be in the sole discretion of the governor who can grant your pardon request, deny your pardon request, or take no action at all.  In addition, there is no set time frame within which the governor has to act.  We have seen decisions take as little as a few months or over a year.  It is important to be patient throughout this process. 

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EXPUNGEMENT

A pardon, by itself, does not remove all record of your conviction.  Therefore, we must file an expungement petition in order to completely remove your criminal record.

Additional Information

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FACTORS CONSIDERED BY THE BOARD

There are no minimum requirements one must have to qualify for a pardon.  However, there are certain factors the board will consider when evaluating pardon applications:

  • Length of time between the crime

  • Your employment history

  • Your involvement with the community

  • Any positive changes you have made to your life since the offense(s)

  • Completion of any treatment programs if applicable to your situation, such as substance abuse or domestic violence programs if applicable

  • Any prior or subsequent criminal history you may have, including traffic violations

  • Successful completion of all court-imposed requirements

  • Payment of all financial obligations

  • Input from the victim, if any, of your crime(s)

  • Input received from any other individual involved in your case, such as the sentencing judge, investigating officer, or the district attorney

  • Your specific need for clemency

  • Any other factor the Board deems appropriate

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NEED FOR CLEMENCY

It will be important for us to demonstrate your specific need for clemency.  Something more specific and articulable than wanting to get the charges behind you or clear your record will be needed before the Board will be willing to grant a pardon.  We will want to identify specific reasons for your particular need, such as a job you cannot get, a volunteer opportunity you cannot participate in, a place you want to travel but are not allowed, etc.  We will help you identify any and all such needs and will help you develop the strongest application possible. 

From the moment you retain us through the process of obtaining an expungement order, the Pennsylvania criminal defense attorney at Dusharm Law LLC will guide you throughout this lengthy and complicated process.  Contact us at once at (717) 204-7820 so we can work with you to get this process started and ensure you receive the best possible outcome. 

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EXPEDITED REVIEW PROGRAM

The Board has established an expedited review program for non-violent marijuana-specific convictions which can speed up the process in some cases.  Contact us at once to see if your conviction qualifies for expedited review