The forgiveness of not only a crime, but the penalty associated with it, is a pardon. Normally granted by a head of state such as a president, monarch, or other governing person or body, a pardon, or “clemency” alleviates the penalty but doesn’t forgive the crime itself. Pardons are generally granted when individuals have fulfilled their debt to society, and have shown that they are otherwise worthy of a pardon. Occasionally pardons are given to those who feel they were wrongfully convicted. In any case, pardons don’t grow on trees – most people need help to know how to get a criminal pardon.
When it comes to getting and keeping a job, anyone who has been arrested or convicted of a crime is at a distinct disadvantage. All of our criminal records are readily available to anyone who wishes to check it, including employers, landlords, and potential girlfriends. All it takes is the click of a mouse to have all of your background information.
Obtaining a pardon restores most of the rights lost as a result of the offense you were convicted for, however it does not erase the conviction from your record. That being the case, if you are asked whether or not you have ever been convicted of a crime you must still answer “Yes”, as the investigating agency or employer will find the conviction on a background check. As for the girlfriend – she may not have a written application, but disclosure is probably preferable to her finding out on her own. You can, however disclose that you have been fully pardoned.
Most employers are hesitant to hire someone who has a criminal record, even if you explain how minor the charges were. Some jobs require bonding of employees however bonding companies aren’t happy about insuring people with criminal records and generally charge employers higher rates, if they are willing to insure the employee at all.
If you have been convicted of a felony, you don’t have to carry the conviction with you forever. Criminal pardon can help you get your life back and could be the most important thing you ever do. While it is possible to request and obtain a pardon on your own, many find it is beneficial to hire an attorney to help them in this endeavor, as the procedures vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction.
To be eligible for a pardon you generally must have demonstrated a high standard of productive behavior following your felony conviction. Obtaining a criminal pardon is a privilege based on your ability to prove you have led a productive, useful and law abiding life following your conviction.
Criminal pardon applications are often accepted only after a certain amount of time has passed after the applicant has been discharged from parole, at least 10 years in most places, and has not been involved in any further criminal activity. The time constraint can be waived in exceptional circumstances if a specific need can be demonstrated by the applicant.
In some jurisdictions a Certificate of Rehabilitation can be obtained from the court that handed down the conviction and used to assist with your application for pardon. In some cases this relieves the pardoning authority from the need to investigate further. A Certificate of Rehabilitation is a court order declaring that the person who was previously convicted of a felony is now rehabilitated.