Pardons, expungements and limited access orders in PA are great tools to help you get a fresh start. A criminal conviction is a life changing event. Not only do you have to suffer the consequences of the criminal justice system from fines and costs to probation and jail time, but it follows you everywhere you go. Similar to an evil shadow, it’s always lurking. For example, trying to get a job, to rent an apartment, buying a car, it hurts about everything in modern living. Moreover, your conviction will haunt you forever, if you don’t act. Furthermore, depending on the type of conviction, you may also lose your right to vote and your right to keep and bear arms. Finally, the government can stop you from certain occupations because of that conviction. Most importantly, a conviction is on your record forever… usually.
However, there are some circumstances where you are eligible to get that conviction off your record through either a limited access orders, expungements, or pardons. What you need to do depends on the conviction.
Limited Access is a “semi-expungement” for lack of better terms. Importantly, if you are granted limited access, the conviction is not totally gone, but it restricts who can see it.
Who can apply? Any person who has a conviction for a second degree, third degree or ungraded misdemeanor. The applicant must be free of arrest or prosecution following conviction or release from confinement for a minimum of 10 years.
Certain misdemeanor offenses are prohibited:
- simple assault (unless fight entered into by mutual consent);
- sexual intercourse with an animal;
- impersonating a public servant;
- intimidating a witness or victim;
- retaliating against a witness, victim or party;
- intimidating, retaliating or obstructing in a child abuse case; and
- any offense which requires registration as a sex offender.
Also excluded are those who have 4 or more convictions for offenses punishable by 1 or more years’ imprisonment.
Clean Slate 3.0
Under Clean Slate 3.0, less serious drug felonies will be eligible to be sealed by automation after 10 years without a subsequent misdemeanor or felony conviction. Other property-related felonies, such as thefts, will be eligible for sealing after 10 years upon granting of a court petition. It will also shorten waiting periods for sealing convictions of misdemeanor to 7 years and summary convictions to five years.
Qualifying felonies (No F1 or F2 permitted)
Criminal Mischief (Section 3304)
Criminal Trespass (Section 3503)
Theft and related offenses (Chapter 39)
Forgery and fraudulent practices (Chapter 41)
Any offense under section 13 of the controlled substance, drug device and cosmetic act, unless a minimum sentence of 30 months or more imprisonment or a maximum sentence of 60 months or more of imprisonment.
Limited Access Process
The process is three steps long:
- Determine if you have a conviction that is eligible for a limited access petition.
- Complete and filing the application.
- Attend a hearing. A hearing is only held if the Commonwealth objects to the petition. Alternatively, if there is no objection by the Commonwealth, the court will grant the petition for limited access without a hearing.
The McShane firm assisted me in a very long pardon process, where they stood by my side the whole way. Katherine McShane took me all the way to the Pennsylvania supreme court where we received a unanimous 5-0 vote and was ultimately granted a full governors pardon! Great job on this amazing feat!
FROM GOOGLE BUSINESS
When selecting which attorney to hire, please consider:
- Can you call anytime and talk to a live person?
- Do they offer payment plans with no credit checks?
- Will your attorney be attentive and explain what’s going on?
At The McShane Firm, we answer yes to all of these questions. We strive to provide you with a great customer service experience during this tough time.
An expungement is the next level up from limited access. It permanently removes the case from your record. However, an expungement is limited to cases that were either dismissed by the District Attorney, acquitted at trial, or following successful completion of ARD.
Similarly, if you have been convicted of a summary offense, you are eligible for expungement after 5 or more years if you been free of any criminal charges in that time period.
If you are over 70 years old and have been crime free for at least 10 years, you may also seek expungement for any criminal conviction.
An expungement, like a limited access is a three step process. First is determining if you are eligible for an expungement. Next is completing and filing the petition. Finally is the hearing. Also like limited access, if there is no objection by the Commonwealth, the petition is typically granted without a hearing.
If you have a conviction on your record that is not eligible for limited access, you may qualify for a pardon. Pardons permanently removes a conviction from your record. Anyone can file for a pardon for any crime. However, the process is much more complicated. It takes a very very long time: around 2 years.
Traditionally, the process for obtaining a pardon requires
- gathering up all the documents about the charges you are looking to pardon,
- getting a full access criminal background check,
- getting a full drivers history
- completing a lengthy application. This includes a detailed description of why you think you should get a pardon.
After we file, we wait. Next, the Board of Pardons has to review the application. Once the Board reviews the application, the Board schedules you for an in home interview. Following the interview, depending on the recommendation of the Board, you may get a hearing on the application. After the hearing, again depending on the recommendation of the Board member, the Board can forward the application to the Governor for final say on the pardon.
In conclusion, if you have a criminal conviction or a case where a judge dismissed the charges, but is still on your record, call us right away. We can help you clear up your record!
What is The McShane Difference?
- We take time to understand your personal needs and goals. Then we cater our legal strategy to fit you.
- We care about you. We listen and return phone calls. We will take time to explain things so you are not left anxious in the dark.
- We will make this as easy as possible. We will try to minimize the number of times you have to be in court which means less disruption of your work and family life.
Does this sound like what you are looking for in an attorney? If yes, then take the next step and call (717) 657-3900.
HOW DO I GET THIS CONVICTION OFF MY RECORD?
Many people have DUI’s or other criminal offenses which they want off their record. There are a number of ways to go about this process.
We are going to examine • Limited Access • Expungement • Pardons.
Who can apply?
|Expungement Criminal Records Lawyer
Any conviction for a second degree, third degree or ungraded misdemeanor can apply for limited access. (Any conviction punishable by 2 years or less can apply, convictions punishable by more than two years do not qualify). Applicant must have been free of arrest or prosecution following conviction or release from confinement for a minimum of 10 years.
Certain misdemeanor offenses are prohibited – simple assault (unless fight entered into by mutual consent); sexual intercourse with an animal; impersonating a public servant; intimidating a witness or victim; retaliating against a witness, victim or party; intimidating, retaliating or obstructing in a child abuse case; and any offense which requires registration as a sex offender.
Also excluded are those who have 4 or more convictions for offenses punishable by 1 or more years’ imprisonment.
|Expungement is limited to cases that were either dismissed by the district attorney, acquitted at trial, or following successful completion of ARD.
Summary offenses that resulted in a conviction are eligible for expungement after 5 or more years if the applicant has been free of any criminal charges in that time period.
Individuals over 70 who have not been arrested for at least 10 years may seek expungement of all charges.
|Any person with a criminal conviction can seek a pardon.
The McShane Firm has been featured by many news outlets like:
Free Detailed Case Evaluation
[contact-form-7 id=”14284″ title=”Flyers copy”]
|Petition for Order for Limited Access is completed (available for free online)
|Prepare a petition for expungement. Some counties have simple one-page forms to be completed.
|Application must be purchased online or via mail (cost is $8.00)
|The petition is filed in the Court of Common Pleas where the conviction occurred (cost varies depending on county).
|Collect necessary documents
|Application must be completed in full and all necessary documents collected
|The District Attorney is notified and is given 30 days to file an objection.
|Application is filed in the county where the charges occurred (cost varies greatly depending on county – anywhere from $25 – $300+ for filing fees)
|When application is completed and all documents collected, application is filed with the Board of Pardons ($25.00 filing fee)
|If an objection is filed, a hearing will be scheduled.
|Copies of application must be sent to the Court and the District Attorney.
|The Board of Pardons reviews the application
|If no objection filed, the petition is sent to the judge for a signature.
|The DA has 30 days to file any objection to the petition for expungement. If the DA objects, a hearing will be granted and the DA must show good cause why the expungement should not be granted.
|The District Attorney, President Judge, and Magisterial District Justice in the county where the crime occurred are given an opportunity to provide an opinion on the merits of the application
|When the petition is granted, a copy of the signed order granting limited access is sent to the Pennsylvania State Police central repository, which is responsible for notifying all pertinent criminal justice agencies of the grant of limited access.
|Once the petition is granted, a copy of the order must be sent to the District Attorney, the Pennsylvania State Police, the Magisterial District Justice’s officer where the charges originated, the arresting officer/agency, the AOPC (Administrative Offices of Pennsylvania Courts), the Clerk of Courts and the Bureau of Administration.
|After all reports are received, the board of pardons will determine if a hearing will be granted. A hearing will be granted if 2 out of the 5 board members approve of a hearing. (If the crime is a crime of violence and the person is still incarcerated or the applicant is serving a life sentence, 3 members must approve to grant a hearing)
|If a hearing is granted, all interested parties are notified of time and place
|After the hearing, the board votes. If a majority of the board votes in favor of the application, the application is sent to the governor with a favorable recommendation. If no majority vote, the application is denied and not sent to the governor.
|The governor, at his discretion, approves or denies any pardon applications that are forwarded to him.
Our Clients are entitled to a Bill of Rights which states:
- Our clients have the right to expect, we will be proactive in communication. You will hear it from us first. We will return all phone calls, texts and emails promptly.
- Our clients have the right to expect plain speaking, straight shooting. No B. S.
- Our clients have the right to expect us to do it right the first time, every time.
- Our clients have the right to expect us to be on time and professionally prepared for all court appearances, and all meetings.
- Our clients have the right to expect that they will be fully informed at all times.
This is our promise to you. Call today to get us on your side: (717) 657-3900.
Additional recommended reading: