Felony is regarded as one of the severe crimes in the US and will hardly go unnoticed. If however, you feel like you’ve been unjustly wronged or if your crime is pertinent enough to be excused, then you will be able to apply for a pardon.
A pardon is a type of leniency shown by the judicial system having the authority to forgive any punishable offense. This however does not allow your criminal record a clean slate.
Once you are pardoned, you will not have to serve the penalty any longer. You will be free from restrictions that might be holding you to live like a free citizen.
How Does One Apply For A Pardon?
Pardons are granted in many countries if the government thinks that the petitioner deserves them. A pardon is important and necessary for a state to function. If a civilian does not get the right to plea for a pardon, there will be a discrepancy.
It is needed to combat corruption. It also allows authorities to evade a flawed judicial process and to free someone that is seen as wrongly convicted.
Pardons however can also be a topic of controversy. If not utilized logically, it may be seen as an act of corruption by officials in the form of granting effective immunity as political favors. This can also lead to political discrepancies. A pardon holds optimum power, as it can remove all legal punishment of an accused.
Applying For A Pardon
There are two ways to apply for a pardon:
- An Application by Certificate of Rehabilitation
- Application by Direct Request to the Governor
A pardon is usually a government’s decision to allow a person to be relieved of the legal consequences as a result of their conviction. Depending on the law of the state or jurisdiction, a pardon is granted before or after the conviction for the crime.
If you are charged with a crime committed against the state, you’ll need to apply to the governor or the parole board which holds a similar position, in some cases. The prerequisite for a state pardon differs from one state to another. They are however predominantly the same when executing a federal pardon.
You will be required to get the following when filing for a pardon:
- Three letters of recommendation
- A completed application
- A copy of your arrest record
- Other necessary documents to supplement your case
You should also disclose any additional arrests or charges by law enforcement authorities. This includes any federal, state, local, or foreign authorities that may have charged you before or after the offense. You should list out every violation which includes:
1 Traffic violations
2 Driving under the influence
Failure to disclose any such arrests will lead to serious repercussions which can be called a false claim thereby misleading the authorities or the court.
The Parole Board will then investigate your pardon application and decide whether you are eligible to be granted a pardon or not. The Governor’s Office will study and scrutinize each application and consider the impact of a pardon granted.
This is based on:
1 Being in the interest of justice
2 Not risking public safety
3 No negative impact caused to the felon, their family members, and the community.
If the authority feels he serves no harm to the society as a whole, then he will be granted a pardon. The applicant’s self-development, age, situations, and behavior are also factors to consider when granting a pardon.
The officials will conduct a thorough investigation to determine the petitioner’s worthiness for relief. One should be prepared for a substantial inquiry. This will include your background and professional background checks.
It also includes:
- Your overall criminal record
- The seriousness of the offense
- Any hardship you’re facing through the conviction
- Your involvement in the community and charitable service.
These also probe into the nature of the investigation. If you have a good and healthy contribution to society, it is often advised that you submit information concerning your community contributions.
The Impact Of A Pardon
The impact of a pardon is of utmost importance. This is because it also determines a petitioner’s future. A pardon will exempt someone from punishment for a crime. This means you will be able to live the life of a free citizen. It helps to restore your civil rights that were lost before the pardon was granted.
It however will not erase the record of your conviction. Even if you are granted a pardon, you must still disclose your conviction on any documents where such information is required. You can also state that you have been granted a pardon.
There are also certain eligibility criteria to consider before pleading for a pardon. You must meet the following conditions to be able to plea for one.
- If you are convicted of a violation of State law. This can be a felony, misdeed involving alcohol, illegal drugs, or arms possession.
- There should be no pending charges against you.
- You should not have been in prison at the time of seeking a pardon.
- You should be discharged of all sentences and have completed five consecutive years of supervision before your application unless you are convicted of first-degree murder.
Eligibility will also depend on the state you are living in and should meet their state law demands.
Reasons For Seeking Pardon
To seek a pardon, you should state the reason for which you are seeking it. To supplement your innocence, attach any relevant document which indicates the evidence of how a pardon will help you accomplish that purpose. One should keep in mind that a pardon is not to nullify any vindication towards you nor is it a tag of innocence.
You can explain your circumstances once a chance is given. Thereafter, parole officials will take into account the petitioner’s acceptance of responsibility, remorse, and atonement for the offense.
Read more: How to Apply for Clemency?
Benefits Of A Pardon
1 Restoration Of Rights – As a convicted felon, you lose the right to vote, own a gun, or a passport. You cannot run for public office or serve on a jury. A pardon restores these rights.
2 Acknowledgement Of Being Back On Track – Getting a job as a felon can be difficult. A pardon works like a moral character certificate which proves you are getting your life back on track. It benefits you for further education and procuring student loans.
3 Eliminates The Stigma Of Being A Criminal – While a pardon does not clean your slate, it does offer some relief of being accused of being a convicted felon. It works as a shield to protect you from certain circumstances.
4 Helps Get Your Records Expunged – Every criminal wants their record expunged. You will need an attorney to make a strong case to do this. A pardon strengthens your case greatly. It also helps to expunge your records.
If you are pleading for a pardon, you need to cooperate with the officials with full transparency. If you fail to accurately complete the application form, it may be construed as a falsification of the petition.
This will result in the rejection of your petition. Also, the falsification of a document submitted to the government is a criminal offense. This will further result in a penalty of up to five years’ imprisonment and a fine.