Clearing a Criminal Record in Pennsylvania
Old arrests and criminal convictions can have a long-lasting effect, even after you have served any required sentence or paid any required fines. Employers regularly use background checks as part of pre-employment screening. An old arrest or conviction can keep you from getting a job, and it could also disqualify you for certain types of federal loans.
There are legal tools available to clear your criminal record. Expungements and pardons are the two main avenues by which a person with an arrest or conviction may clean up their record.
At the Pittsburgh criminal defense law firm of Farrell & Associates, Attorneys at Law, we handle expungements, pardons and commutations on behalf of clients throughout Western Pennsylvania. Our attorneys have advanced experience with every stage of the criminal justice process — including expungements, pardons and commutations.
We provide this service to our own criminal defense clients, and we also help new clients with expungements or pardons. It does not matter who your original criminal defense lawyer was.
Pardons Versus Expungements: The Basics
An expungement is the process by which a person petitions the court to remove any arrests from the criminal record. Expungements are only available in cases where there was an arrest but not a conviction. Not every arrest is eligible for expungement; the judge has discretion over whether to grant the expungement petition.
Contact Farrell & Associates for a free initial consultation. We will review your criminal record and advise you whether you may be eligible for criminal record expungement.
A pardon is the only tool available to remove an old criminal conviction from a person’s criminal record. If you pled guilty or were found guilty of a crime, that conviction will remain on your criminal record unless and until you receive a pardon. The effect of the pardon is to completely remove the conviction from your record. A pardon requires a formal petition to the Pennsylvania Board of Pardons. If a majority of Board of Pardons members agree, then the board will recommend a pardon to the governor. The governor makes the final decision in every pardon petition.
Contact Farrell & Associates for a free initial consultation. We will review your criminal record and advise you on your chances for a successful petition for pardon.
Petitions for Commutation of Sentence
In addition to expungements and pardons, Farrell & Associates represents currently incarcerated individuals who are seeking commutation of their sentence. The result of a successful petition for commutation of sentence will be to lessen the prisoner’s sentence — for example, we can petition to change a sentence from death to life, from life without parole to life with the possibility of parole, or to a lower minimum or maximum sentence.
A successful commutation of sentence will allow a prisoner earlier opportunities to return him or her to the community.
Contact Farrell & Associates for a free and confidential initial consultation. We will review the prisoner’s original sentence and prison record, and then provide an analysis of the chances for success with a petition for commutation of sentence.