A Pennsylvania Governor’s Pardon refers to a procedure by which the Governor’s Board of Pardons reviews an application to have the applicant’s criminal convictions ‘pardoned’, or forgiven. If three of the five members of the Board of Pardons recommend the application, it will be forwarded to the Governor. If the Governor issues the Pardon, then the record can be expunged by filing an expungement petition in county or counties of conviction.
This procedure is broader than the expungement of summary convictions – this is the only process that can remove a misdemeanor or felony conviction.
During their review of the Pardon application, the Board considers:
- The nature of the crimes and what led to their commission;
- Whether the Petitioner accepts responsibility for the conduct;
- The amount of time that has passed since the crimes;
- The hardship that is being created by the criminal history – education, licensing, occupational, clearances, etc…
- How the Petitioner has contributed to society since the crime.
While there are no guarantees as to whether an application will be granted, the Board has been receptive to the expungement of summary offenses regardless of time, and the more serious offenses once a number of years have passed.
The pardon application takes several months to request and receive all the documentation that is required. Once it is filed, the Pardon Board can take several years to review the application. Applications are reviewed in the order received.
For more information about pardons and expungements, check out our FAQ sheet
If you need your record cleared, don’t wait.