I got in trouble right after I turned 18. Because I didn't have a lot of money to fight this out in court, I plead guilty. The charges were drug related and resulted in a felony record.
I am now 30 years old, haven't been in trouble and really have my life together now. Last year, I started my own small renovation business. But I feel that this conviction will hold me back from being able to take on certain work. I would like a pardon and didn't know if I could do it myself or if it would be better for me to get a lawyer.
The answer to both of your questions is "Yes"
You could do it yourself but it is much better to get an attorney. I understand its a difficult call to make to spend the extra money on an attorney, especially when there is no guaranty regarding the outcome. Like any endeavor that requires a special skill set with the law its always better to have counsel. Best of Luck to you.
This information does not create an attorney /client relationship and should not be use or relied upon to make any decision in your case. Only consultation with your own attorney can provide you with the advice you need for your case.
You really should not represent yourself for any legal matter if you do not know what you are doing. I always tell clients that I am not a mechanic, so if my car breaks down I do not try to fix it myself. The same holds true for a legal case.
The pardon process is difficult - you have to file an app and the board determines if they will grant a hearing.
I agree with my colleagues. Obtaining a pardon requires a great deal of effort.
A pardon relieves an individual of the consequences, generally in the nature of legal disabilities, resulting from conviction for a crime. Approximately 85 percent of the clemency applications the Board receives are for pardons, the balance for commutation of sentences. A pardon constitutes total forgiveness by the state, makes the crime as if it never happened and allows a job applicant to deny he was ever convicted of the crime.
There are no minimum eligibility requirements, however, the applicant should be able to demonstrate a reasonable period of time having elapsed since the crime (sufficient to show rehabilitation) and successful completion of all court-imposed requirements such as probation, parole, and payment of all fines and costs.
Neither the Pennsylvania Constitution nor the laws or regulations governing the Board establish minimum eligibility requirements in order to apply for executive clemency. Also, the law does not establish a specific list of factors that the Board must consider in evaluating applications. As a result, each of the five Board members is free to rely upon the information that he/she feels is most important both in deciding to grant a public hearing and in deciding to recommend clemency to the Governor.
Factors Considered in Pardon Applications
1. How much time has elapsed since the commission of the crime(s)? Obviously, this factor, coupled with being crime free after the offense, is one of the best indicators of whether the applicant has been successfully rehabilitated. Further, the more serious, or numerous, the crime(s), the greater the period of successful rehabilitation that the applicant should be able to demonstrate.
2. Has the applicant complied with all court requirements? The applicant should be able to demonstrate successful completion of all court-imposed requirements such as probation, parole, and payment of all fines and costs.
3. Has the applicant made positive changes to his/her life since the offense(s)? Successful rehabilitation may also be demonstrated by positive changes since the offense(s) in applicant's career, education, family or through community or volunteer service, particularly in areas that relate to the offense(s).
4. What is the specific need for clemency? The applicant should identify a specific need for clemency, e.g., a particular job that applicant cannot get, or some particular activity that he/she cannot participate in without clemency. as opposed to the more general answers of "employment purposes" or "to put this behind me" that applicants frequently use. Except in extraordinary circumstances, the Board does not view a pardon as an appropriate means of restoring any disability that has been imposed pursuant to a state law, e.g., suspension of driver's license, revocation of professional or business licensure, etc. Rather, the Board generally defers to the General Assembly and the means of restoration provided for in the law in question.
5. What is the impact on the victim(s) of the offense(s)? The Board's regulations require that victims or next of kin be notified and given the opportunity to appear at the hearing or make a confidential submission in writing.
Years licensed, work experience, educationLegal community recognition
Peer endorsements, associations, awardsLegal thought leadership
Publications, speaking engagementsDiscipline