Petitioning for Forgiveness
If you've been convicted of a felony and sentenced to state prison or otherwise put under the authority of the California Department of Corrections, your options for cleaning your record are limited. You are not eligible to have a conviction dismissed through the process of expungement. This is unfortunate because expungement can greatly increase your chances of getting a good job, finding housing, or getting public assistance. But your cause is not hopeless if you cannot dismiss a conviction. You can still get a Certificate of Rehabilitation and a Governor's pardon. A Governor's Pardon isn't the same as dismissing a conviction from your record. It will not remove any pieces of information from your criminal record. Nevertheless, it can go a long way toward helping you reduce the discrimination you face because of your conviction. This can help you find employment, housing, and gain respect in your community.
Getting a Governor's pardon is difficult. Not every ex-felon can ask for a pardon and get it. Historically, California's governors have granted very few pardons, but this can fluctuate from year to year. The petition itself is relatively simple, but you should know these tips before you start the process:
At least ten years without any run-ins with the law must have passed since your parole or probation ended. Once ten years have elapsed, you can begin the process. You must have not been charged with any other crime, convicted of a crime, be facing criminal charges currently, or violated the conditions of your parole or probation.
A Governor's pardon is an honor. It is reserved for those who have made significant strides in their life since their conviction. Think about what you've done since your conviction and how it can demonstrate that you deserve an honor from the Governor. Your chances of getting a pardon will be better if you have a compelling reason for seeking it. If your reason is simply that you want to restore your gun rights, for example, you don't have much of a case. If you need a pardon to be able to work in a specific field or help others who have make mistakes in the past, you have a compelling argument. Think about why you need a pardon and why you deserve one.
The first step in getting a Pardon is getting a Certificate of Rehabilitation. After that, your application will be sent to the Governor's Office. There is little formality in the process after that point. This means you could be left waiting for an answer, not knowing what to do. Once your petition is submitted, however, your job is done. There is nothing you can do at that point to influence your case.
Your petition will be investigated. This means people, such as your probation or parole officer, or agencies with information relevant to your case may be contacted. This can take some time. Be patient. You will be notified if the Governor's Office takes action on your petition.
You can speak with a criminal defense attorney with experience in record cleaning if you need guidance throughout this process. An attorney can advise you of what you can do to increase your chances of being granted a pardon and help you file your petition. Since the first step is applying for a Certificate of Rehabilitation, you may need help with this process first.
Remember; a pardon is an honor, not a right. You have to demonstrate that you deserve it and that it is in the interests of justice that you receive one. Speak with an attorney about your options for cleaning your record. The benefits of cleaning your record are numerous. It can help you get a job, get housing, and even restore some valuable rights that may have been taken away from you. An attorney can evaluate your case and advise you of your options and help you take the steps needed to move on from your conviction.
Do you have questions about cleaning you record? Contact attorney Christopher Martens and his team for legal help in Tulare, Fresno or Kings County. Specializing in criminal defense, Mr. Martens can help you take steps to clean your record so you can move on with your life. With over ten years experience in criminal defense, Attorney Martens has taken over 50 cases to trial and will not be afraid to do the same for you. Call our Visalia or Hanford, CA offices at 559-967-7386 or email us at [email protected] for a free consultation.