How to Get a Pardon in Texas -
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How to Get a Pardon in Texas

How to get a pardon in Texas

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 pardon in Texas.

  • What is a Pardon?
  • Federal vs. State Pardon
  • Types of Pardons in Texas
  • Application Process in Texas
  • Supporting the Felon after the Pardon Decision

What is a Pardon?

A pardon is a term for forgiving for 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feel they have paid their debt to society and are entitled to having any further possible punishments for their crime withdrawn may wish to consider petitioning the government for a pardon.

A pardon is a form of clemency.  While a pardon does not erase the conviction, it goes on the criminal record 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 in Texas, the application will go to the governor for approval.

Prior to the application going to the governor for approval, the Texas Parole Board must review and recommend it.

In some states, felons must wait at least five years before being eligible for a pardon.  In Texas, they must only have served their full sentence, including all terms of probation and any restitution owed.

It is difficult to get a pardon in Texas.  In 2012, 529 applications were received with only 38 being granted by the governor of the state.

Types of Pardons in Texas

In the state of Texas, there are three types of pardons.  The Texas parole Board and the governor will decide which kind of pardon to grant.

The first is a full pardon that releases felons from all conditions of the sentence and will also restore the Constitutional rights that were lost.

A full pardon can remove some barriers to employment and help with obtaining a professional license.

A conditional pardon releases felons from the conditions of the sentence but does not restore civil rights.  A conditional pardon is based on certain conditions being met and can be revoked if those conditions are broken.

A conditional pardon is considered only if felons are released to a different country or under extreme or unusual circumstances.

Then, there is a pardon based on innocence, which releases felons from further punishment and restores rights because they are declared innocent of the crime.  This is exoneration for state crimes.

Federal convictions or convictions from other states must be pardoned first.

Application Process

There are a number of steps involved in the application process.

Felons must state the reason for seeking a 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.

Part of the review will be contacting the victim and original jurisdiction where they were convicted.

Following the review, the application will be submitted to the governor with a recommendation.  The governor will then make a decision on the request for pardon.

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 and assistance with the pardon application process.

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 offender.

If felons are successful in achieving a pardon, some things in their life will change.

While the conviction will remain on their record, they will no longer be subject to the penalties that typically go along with a felony record.

They will once again be able to own a firearm, vote, and hold public office.  Obtaining a loan or mortgage may be easier also.  If their pardon application is denied, those penalties will remain with them.

Supporting the Felon after the Pardon Decision

For families of felons who have achieved a pardon in Texas, 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 of the 2/3 who return to prison within the first two years following release.

So what do you think about this blog post about how to apply for a pardon in Texas?  Have you or someone you know been through this process?  What was that like and were they successful?   Please tell us in the comments below.

6 responses to “How to Get a Pardon in Texas”

  1. DENNIS LEWIS says:


  2. DENNIS LEWIS says:


  3. Hakim says:

    Over 20 years since release and only a traffic violation since, I turned myself in after sleepless nights of guilt at 17 thinking I will make amends by being honest and joining the navy, but it was an election year and I was a young black kid with no money who made a stupid decision to “be cool” and immediately regretted the decision and tried to make it right..boy was I stupid of life thinking I would be treated like my white friend who got “probation” for shooting someone!! I’m college educated and a family man now with NO more run ins with law enforcement, hell I had none prior too. What can I do to at the very least to legally carry a gun outside my home? This world has gotten very violent and craziness can happen anywhere and I would love to be able to protect my family and innocent people should the need arise.

  4. Pamela Wilburn Hawkins says:

    I have submitted several applications for a full pardon with the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles with exceptionally rare and unusual circumstances, they all were administratively closed for not submitting all required documents, that was untrue. I requested a pardon because the case I’m unlawfully doing a 20 year sentence for, the offenses [charges] were Paid full restitution and dropped by the Complainant with the DA’s office. This offense was committed in November 1993; Indicted in April 1995 and Open warrant entered and issued in May 1995, I did use an alias name when I committed offense that is listed on Indictment but the warrant issued under legal birth name and DOB. I was also under previous custody of the TDCJ Parole division when I committed this offense and when I paid restitution and charges were dropped, Parole officer placed documents in parole file, I also was under this previous parole custody for over 10 years after open warrant issued – but was never detained or arrested on this charge, I Successfully Discharged this previous parole in January 2006. I was Unlawfully arrested on this 1993 charge on March 2007. The documents to support I paid restitution and charges were dropped were destroyed in 2001 Flood Allison. I asserted my rights to a Speedy and failure to serve Indictment, I was Railroad. I received a 20 year sentence and served 7 flat years in TDCJ – CID was released in January 2014. I have filed every writ and petition in the State and Federal courts, but all were dismissed. My first writ 11:07 filed – additional info. about Why there was such a long delay between indictment and arrest, response on remand (Affidavit) statement affirm that the warrant was entered under my legal name and DOB, the same name I was under previous parole. In March 2007 I was told by court after asserting my right, stated I forfeited that right when used alias name to commit offenses; concealing my identity under alias names to avoid arrest on issued warrant; authorities could not find or locate me to arrest on issued warrant, this was reasons for the almost 12 year delay from indictment to arrest/trial. When released in 2014, I was imposed Special conditions C and I [No components to comply with] until 2016 [with no justified reasons] Parole officer imposed added components – All prohibitions – Not open or maintain a checking or savings account; Not obtain or maintain a credit or debit card; Not participate in any electronic financial transmissions, effective immediately. I am Self employed, own a business since 2000 – DBA Sole Proprietor, had business checking and savings accounts, numerous credit cards and debit cards; was ordered to remove my name off any accounts prohibited from – I removed my name off business accounts – Bank rep. closed accounts. I was forced to shut down /close my business could not operate or run without accounts or bank access. I lost my home, my vehicles, my insurance(s), etc. We reside in an extended stay Hotel (now) for 2 years, lost all our property placed in storage was flooded in Hurricane Harvey 2017. I have several health concerns cannot afford to receive treatment or have test performed cannot afford deductible. I have recently filed a Petition with the BPP to remove conditions C and I and how do I start over after losses from their negligence. I know I need to get my story told through media coverage but don’t know how to go about doing that. Sorry for venting. I was going to apply again for a pardon, but now I cannot afford to pay the cost for the documents needed for several agencies – I have a lengthy criminal record , but have discharged all my convictions, but this one, I have tried to request documents as indigent, but denied request. Copies of documents from other filed pardon applications were destroyed in storage in Hurricane Harvey flood. Please reply to this response. Thanks for reading this.

  5. I am Naomi Lane my granddaughter received a sentence in the state of Texas. She has had several charges against her but they don’t understand she’s an addict and needs rehabilitation and I feel prison is not the answer. I don’t know why they think prison is the answer go people like her gets a sentence of 15-25!years is going to rehabilitate her. She and many others like her need anything but a long non aggregated offense is going to help her and many many others. Lets get these people out of prison and like President Trump what about the Second Chance Program. Why would this not be applied to all the people I’m talking about.

  6. Charles says:

    I’m A Felon In Texas But I Don’t Have Any Felony Convictions. I Passed 7 Polygraphs Denying Allegations Against Me On 6-7 Polygraphs I Need To Get This Cleared. I Also Have Aggravated Assault With A Deadly Weapon Charge But I Was Not Convicted I Also Need This Removed But I Don’t Have Much Money.

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