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Pennsylvania State House and Capitol


John Della Rocca March 22, 2021

According to statistics from the Pennsylvania Board of Pardons, 747 applications were reviewed by the board in 2020. Of these, 570 applications were recommended to the Governor. In the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, anyone with a criminal conviction can apply for a Governor’s pardon. If the pardon is granted, the person's criminal record may be eligible for expungement. You will only need to file a petition for expungement to completely remove your criminal history.

If you're considering applying for a pardon and want to understand the process, consulting with an experienced Pennsylvania criminal defense attorney is important for detailed guidance. I am committed to providing comprehensive legal guidance and strong representation to clients in pardons and expungement matters and have handled more pardon cases than any other private attorney in the state. I can fight diligently to protect your rights and offer you the proper guidance you need throughout every step of your pardon application and review process.

At The Law Offices of John Della Rocca, I proudly serve clients across Philadelphia, Bucks County, Delaware County, Chester County, and Montgomery County, Pennsylvania.

What is a Pardon?

A pardon can be described as an act of clemency from the Governor to forgive a person's crime or erase a criminal record. Only the Governor has the power and authority to issue a pardon for a criminal conviction in the state.

Who is Eligible for a Pardon?

Anyone with a criminal conviction in Pennsylvania is eligible for a pardon. To be eligible for criminal record erasure, the person must pursue clemency by filing an application for a Governor's pardon with the Board of Pardons. If the pardon is granted, the criminal record will be eligible for expungement.

Why is a Pardon Important?

Receiving a Governor's pardon removes your criminal conviction. The removal of a criminal conviction offers several benefits, including:

  • Improving your ability to secure employment, scholarships, and other career opportunities

  • Making you eligible to obtain occupational or professional licenses

  • Restoring your right to own a firearm

  • Making you eligible to hunt or receive a concealed carry permit

  • Relieving you of the ramifications and legal difficulties related to a criminal conviction

After a pardon is granted, your criminal conviction can be expunged (erased from your criminal record).

The Pardon Process in Pennsylvania

The following steps are involved in the pardon application process in Pennsylvania:

Filing an Application

The pardon application process commences when your attorney files an application for a Governor's pardon on your behalf. You will receive your application form from the board. Your attorney will help you fill the form and submit it back to the board for review.

Investigation by the Board of Probation and Parole

Upon receiving your completed application, officials from the Pennsylvania Board of Probation and Parole will carry out a comprehensive investigation on behalf of the Board of Pardons. They will investigate the details of the offense that you are seeking pardon for and conduct an interview with you.

Submitting a Report

Once the investigation is completed, the officials will prepare and submit a detailed report of their findings to the board for review. The report will focus on your character and conduct. Your application will be granted a hearing if it is approved by at least two of the five board members.

Factors Considered

To determine whether your application for a Governor's pardon should be granted, the Board of Pardons will consider the following factors:

  • The amount of time that has elapsed since the crime was committed

  • Fulfillment of sentence and compliance with all court requirements

  • Evidence of positive change or full rehabilitation

  • The specific need for clemency

  • The impact of the pardon on the victim

Filing an application for pardon involves a lot of complexities. A knowledgeable attorney can guide you through the entire process and improve your chances of a favorable outcome.

Turn to an Experienced Attorney

The consequences of a criminal conviction are often devastating and can affect your chances of securing employment, educational scholarships, public assistance, and professional licensing. Receiving a pardon can give you the second chance you deserve. An experienced Pennsylvania criminal defense attorney can help protect your rights and handle your application for a pardon.

At The Law Offices of John Della Rocca, I believe that everyone deserves a second chance. I have devoted my career to providing strong advocacy and reliable representation to individuals with prior convictions with an extremely high success rate. Furthermore, I have taught continuing legal education classes to other attorneys/organizations regarding the pardon process. As your legal counsel, I will review the circumstances surrounding your situation, help you understand your options, and determine your best course of action.

I will help you file your application for clemency, ensure that your application is submitted correctly, demonstrate evidence of positive change, and represent you during the hearing. I will argue in your favor to show that you are remorseful, rehabilitated, and deserving of a pardon. Having me on your side can increase your chances of success in your pardon application and a better tomorrow.

Criminal Defense Attorney Serving Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Obtaining a pardon relieves you from the legal difficulties and ramifications of a prior conviction. Contact my firm — The Law Offices of John Della Rocca — today to schedule a consultation. I can offer you the experienced legal guidance and advocacy you need. My firm serves clients in Philadelphia, Bucks County, Delaware County, Chester County, and Montgomery County, Pennsylvania.