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Applying for a Pardon in Orange County

If you were convicted of a felony in Orange County, you may be interested in cleaning up your criminal record, improving your employment possibilities, and restoring your right to bear arms. You may be wondering, “Can I apply for a pardon?”

If an individual has demonstrated “exemplary behavior” after a conviction, they may be granted what is called a “gubernatorial pardon.” Not just anybody can have a pardon granted; only those individuals who have earned it shall receive one.

It is a significant achievement to obtain a pardon; the key factor that determines eligibility is evidence that a person has gone on to be a productive, law-abiding citizen after their criminal conviction. Please be aware that few pardons have been granted over the years, but that does not mean it’s not possible to receive one.

An application for a pardon will not be considered unless:

  • The person has been discharged from probation or parole for 10 or more years.
  • Since being discharged from probation or parole, the individual has not been involved in any further criminal activity.
  • The conviction was not in another jurisdiction (e.g. in another state or a federal case).

If you were convicted in another state and you’re seeking a pardon, you would have to apply for a pardon in the state where you were convicted. If you are seeking a federal pardon, you would have to request it from the Pardon Attorney at the U.S. Department of Justice.

Certificate of Rehabilitation

Generally, for someone with a felony conviction to apply for a pardon, the first step is to obtain a Certificate of Rehabilitation from the Superior Court in the county where the person currently resides. A Certificate of Rehabilitation is technically a court order, which says the applicant who was convicted of a crime is now fully rehabilitated.

Certificates of Rehabilitation are obtained from one of the following places: the public defender’s office, the probation department, or the court clerk. Once the Certification of Rehabilitation is obtained, it’s forwarded to the Governor’s Office, where it becomes a pardon application.

While the Governor may receive an application for a pardon, the pardon is not guaranteed. Usually, once the Governor receives a pardon application, it’s forwarded to the Board of Parole Hearings (Board), which may conduct a background investigation on the applicant. From there, the Board makes a recommendation whether the pardon should be granted or not.

Advantages of a Governor’s Pardon:

  • Enhances employment possibilities.
  • Allows the felon to serve on a jury.
  • Allows certain sex offenders to be relieved of their duty to register as a sex offender.
  • Allows for the restoration of firearm privileges (upon federal approval).
  • Improves a person’s chances of obtaining a license considered by a State board.

Need legal advice from an Orange County criminal defense attorney? If so, contact our firm for a free case evaluation. We’d be happy to discuss your case with you!