Pardons

People who are not eligible for an expungement may be granted a pardon by the Governor of Pennsylvania. A pardon is defined as forgiving the defendant for committing the crime. The process begins by filing an application with the Pennsylvania Board of Pardons. This board reviews all criminal cases to determine whether to recommend clemency to the Governor. There are several important factors that the board will take into consideration, which include the following:

1. How much time has elapsed since the crime was committed?

2. Has the applicant complied with all of the requirements set forth by the court, including paying court costs, fines and completing probation or parole?

3. What positive changes has the applicant made to his or her life since the offense? This can be demonstrated by the individual’s career accomplishments or volunteering time to perform community service.

4. Why does the individual specifically need clemency? This might include the applicant’s inability to obtain a particular job or participate in a specific activity.

5. How will the victim or his or her relatives be affected? The Pennsylvania Board of Pardons regulations requires all victims or their next of kin to be notified and given an opportunity to appear at the scheduled hearing. If they are unable to attend, they can submit their concerns in writing which will be considered by the Board.

A pardon is often granted for minor offenses that were punishable by paying a fine or serving probation. Once the person has demonstrated that they have fulfilled their debt to society, the Board is likely to recommend a pardon.

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