Pardons refer to a procedure by which the Governor’s Board of Pardons reviews an application to have the applicant’s criminal conduct ‘pardoned’, or forgiven.

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This procedure is broader than expungement – summary convictions can certainly be petitioned, but also felonies and misdemeanors. The Board of five must make a unanimous recommendation to be forwarded to the Governor. If the Board and the Governor both approve, the Pardon is granted, and then an expungement petition can be filed in the County Court to remove the offending history.

The Board seems to weigh and consider several factors:
• The nature of the crimes and what led to their commission;
• Whether the Petitioner accepts responsibility for the conduct;
• The amount of time that has passed since the crimes;
• The hardship that is being created by the criminal history – education, licensing, occupational, clearances, etc…
• How the Petitioner has contributed to society since the crime.

While there are no guarantees as to whether an application will be granted, the Board has been receptive to the expungement of summary offenses regardless of time, and the more serious offenses once a number of years have passed.

For college students, or other individuals who cannot wait five years to petition for removal of a summary offense, the Pardon is the only 
available remedy! But, the Pardon process, even if ‘fast-tracked’, can take more than a year, and should be started in the freshman or
sophomore year.