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Criminal convictions and a criminal record carry with them many unfortunate collateral consequences. These consequences range from difficulty in obtaining employment to prohibition against firearm ownership and possession to deportation. There are generally three avenues one can pursue to have these hardships alleviated, they are the expungement process, the pardon process and the restoration of firearms rights. Sometimes an individual may need to pursue multiple avenues of relieve.
A Pardon is perhaps the ideal route to removing collateral consequences of a criminal conviction. But it can be a long and arduous process and chances of success are generally low. However, pardons may allow relieve in circumstances where no other route will.
In contrast, expunging a criminal record in Pennsylvania is much easier and more achievable than a pardon in most circumstances. Expungement relieve may help people advance in many careers but not licensing boards may still have access to expunged records.
Restoration of firearm rights may be available when pardons and expungements are not.
Fortunately, a criminal conviction does not directly impact a person's voting rights in Pennsylvania.
Until recently, Pennsylvania only allowed the expungment of summary offense convictions and dismissed charges. However, in the past few years Pennsylvania has now allowed for "limited access expungement" of most, but not all, misdemeanor offenses. In the Lehigh Valley there are now three (3) paths to expunging a criminal record.
Non-convictions, such as dismissed charges, not guilty verdicts and ARD dispositions can be expunged rather quickly in the Lehigh Valley. Summary Offense convictions can be expunged after five (5) years. Finally, many misdemeanor convictions can be sealed, or subject to limited expungement after ten (10) years.
Expungement petitions may be prepared qualified attorneys in the Lehigh Valley. Our office enjoys a high success rate in achieving expungements for our clients
The pardon process in the Lehigh Valley can be a long and arduous ordeal. Applying for a pardon typically takes over two (2) years from start to finish. Pardons are purely discretionary and are an instrument of the governors office rather than the courts. Because they are strictly discretionary, there is no set time frame which one must wait after conviction to apply for a pardon. However, as a rule of thumb, pardons will not be granted less than five (5) years after a misdemeanor convictions and less than ten (10) years after a felony conviction. Even after waiting this period of time, pardon success rates are lower than twenty percent. However, pardons are the only means to seek relieve from felony convictions as of 2019.
The restoration of firearm rights is a relatively obscure area of law but one that our office has had great success in. While restoration of gun rights after a felony conviction in Pennsylvania will require a pardon, restoration of firearm rights after a Pennsylvania misdemeanor conviction, or an out of state conviction, may be achievable even without a pardon or expungement. If you have a misdemeanor 3 or misdemeanor 2 conviction in Pennsylvania or an out of state conviction that is stopping you from owning a firearm, and have not have any arrests in the past ten (10) years, theres a good change our gun law attorneys can help you.
To schedule a free and confidential consultation regarding your criminal record contact our office today. We will return your call or e-mail as soon as possible.
Madsen Law Offices is located in Easton, Pennsylvania. Our Lehigh Valley Lawyers represent clients throughout the Lehigh Valley, including Allentown, Bethlehem, Easton, Jim Thorpe, Stroudsburg and other outlying areas.
Madsen Law Offices
1000 Paul Street
Easton, Pa 18045
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