New Expedited Review Program for Pardons on Non-Violent Marijuana Specific Convictions
A recent update to the pardoning system in Pennsylvania can benefit anyone who has been convicted of non-violent marijuana charges.
Pennsylvania Lieutenant Governor John Fetterman is encouraging anyone who has been convicted of non-violent marijuana offenses to apply for a pardon.
This expedited pardons process, which takes effect immediately for people with marijuana convictions, ranges from misdemeanor possession to non-violent felonies.
Although marijuana possession in Pennsylvania is still illegal, a majority of Pennsylvanians, including the current Governor, are in favor of legalization. It is estimated that between 65 and 70 percent of Pennsylvanians endorse legalizing marijuana.
“We now know the majority of Pennsylvanians are in favor of legalization, and that includes me,” Gov. Wolf said in a public statement.
What is a Pardon?
When someone has been convicted of a misdemeanor or felony charge, the only way to have that charge completely forgiven by the state is to go through the clemency process. The clemency process is what is better known as applying for a Governor’s Pardon or Commutation.
A pardon relieves an individual of the consequences resulting from a conviction. A pardon constitutes total forgiveness by the state, and makes the crime as if it never happened.
Where to Apply for a Pardon in Pennsylvania
The Pennsylvania Board of Pardons (BOP) is the entity that has the authority to make recommendations to the Governor for pardons. Generally, the process to be granted a pardon takes years to complete. It starts with the filing of an application, after which it can take years before a hearing is granted.
Recently, the Pennsylvania Board of Pardons (BOP) has established an expedited review program for non-violent marijuana-specific convictions. Under this new expedited program for non-violent marijuana convictions—instead of a typical 2½-year wait—a person could have their cases expunged in less than one year.
This expedited review program puts an emphasis on accelerating the process for reviewing applications for pardons for these types of offenses. Under the new expedited process, the BOP has the goal of evaluating these types of pardon applications in a much quicker fashion.
There is no guarantee that applicants for this program will receive a favorable decision from the BOP. However, this program does speed up the process and it puts an emphasis on allowing applicants to demonstrate how a pardon of such an offense would improve the applicants overall quality of life.
Reasons to Apply for a Pardon
If you have criminal charges on your record, it makes it all the more difficult to find employment, apply for loans, find housing, etc. Having your record pardoned is as if the arrest and conviction never happened—your record will no longer be available for anyone to see with a basic background check.
Help with Applying for a Pardon
An experienced drug lawyer in Pennsylvania can help with the process of having your conviction pardoned. If you were convicted of a small amount of marijuana or are wondering whether you can have your record removed, call Attorney Justin Ketchel today for a free case evaluation.
If you have been charged with a drug crime or marijuana possession in Pennsylvania, contact Ketchel Law today. Our number one goal is to have your charges dismissed and your record clean.
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