Felons know how challenging it can be as they move forward in life with a felony on their record.
It seems like the conviction penalties follow them no matter what they do and affects all aspects of their life from finding a job, to obtaining housing, continuing their education, or obtaining a loan.
For felons who believe they deserve forgiveness for the offense, a pardon may offer hope.
This blog post will cover the process of applying for a felony pardon.
- What is a Pardon?
- Federal vs. State Pardon
- Application Process
- Effects of a Felony Pardon
- Supporting a Felon after the Pardon Decision
What is a Pardon?
A pardon is a form of clemency forgiving a particular crime without actually clearing a felony record.
Felons who have a criminal conviction for which they believe the sentence was too harsh or not deserved given the circumstances can apply for a pardon.
Felons who feel they have paid their debt to society and are entitled to having any further possible punishments for their crime withdrawn may wish to consider petitioning the government for a pardon.
While a pardon does not erase the conviction, their criminal record will show that they have been legally forgiven for the crime and the restrictions imposed on a felon no longer apply.
This will allow them to have their right to vote and hold public office restored. They will also be allowed to own a firearm.
Nevertheless, their felony conviction will still be part of the public record and able to be viewed. Their felony conviction must still be reported in any situation inquiring about prior criminal history.
Federal vs. State Pardon
A pardon may be a federal or a state pardon depending on whether it is a federal or state offense.
For a federal pardon, a petition will go to the President of the United States. For a state crime, the application will go to the governor or the State Parole Board for approval.
In order to obtain a federal pardon, felons must wait five years after completion of their sentence. Then they may contact the federal government regarding clemency.
The main reason for the waiting period is so that a determination can be made as to whether felons have lived in a law-abiding manner since completing their sentence.
The length of the waiting period for a state felony will depend on the state.
Felons must state the reason for seeking a felony pardon and how the pardon will help them accomplish that.
They will need to provide evidence why it would be in the public’s best interest as well as their own to receive a pardon.
They may need documentation, such as a letter from appropriate government or licensing authorities. They must have a clean criminal record after the time of the initial conviction.
Their personal background is extremely important. The nature, seriousness, and length of time since their conviction along with their overall criminal record will be considered.
Any hardship they may be suffering as a result of their conviction is also important. Involvement in community service or charitable activities will make a difference.
Felons will need to submit three letters of recommendations from character witnesses who are not part of their immediate family.
Felons must list any bankruptcies, tax or other financial obligations. They must include any civil lawsuit of which they are a part.
Additionally, they must include every violation, including traffic offenses, which resulted in an arrest or conviction.
Before submitting any such application, it will be important to consult with an attorney for legal advice were convicted.
Following the review, the application will be submitted to the President with a recommendation. The President will then make a decision on the request for clemency.
Even though felons may be pardoned, the original offense can still be used against them if they commit another crime, and they will still be considered a repeat offense.
Effects of a Felony Pardon
If felons are successful in achieving a felony pardon, some things in their life will change.
If a pardon is granted, the conviction will remain on their record, but the decision will restore the right to:
- Serve on a jury
- Hold public office
- Bear arms
- Be admitted to a professional school
- Take the Civil Service Examination
- Have a passport
- Hold certain licenses, such as a liquor license
Obtaining a pardon will make it easier to find a job, get a loan, or buy a house. A pardon will make a significant difference in re-establishing their standing in the community.
Also, they will have the satisfaction of knowing they were successful at having the penalties for a felony removed from their record.
Supporting a Felon after the Pardon Decision
For families of felons who have achieved a felony pardon, reinforce their efforts and the difficulty they faced in applying for and persisting with the lengthy pardon process.
If they can work hard enough to accomplish that, they can achieve so much more.
For families of felons who have been turned down for a pardon, continue to be there and be supportive.
Do not allow your loved one to get discouraged or give up.
They have lived with their criminal record and the consequences this long, and they can continue their quest for a better life even without a pardon.
Continue to encourage them to live life the right way and not return to their criminal behavior. Don’t let them become one who returns to prison.
So what do you think about this blog post about how to apply for a felony pardon? Have you or someone you applied for a felony pardon? What was that like and were they successful? Please tell us in the comments below.