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What Is A Governor's Pardon?

If you have committed a crime and feel that you were convicted unjustly, or are repentant and want a second chance, you are probably aware that there are several ways in which to clear your criminal record. While a pardon does not erase the crime you committed, it does put it on the record that you have been forgiven for said crime.

What Is a Pardon?

A pardon is an act of the Executive of a state or country whereby a person is forgiven of a crime. If the person is still serving criminal penalties such as a prison sentence, that penalty is no longer in effect and the person will be released immediately. Any restrictions placed on ex-convicts do not apply to the pardoned person. That being said, a pardon does not erase a conviction. The conviction remains on your criminal record and must be disclosed in any situation where information about past criminal activity is required.

What is a Governor's Pardon?

In the United States, a pardon can only be granted by an Executive of the government. In the case of the Federal government, that means the President of the United States, and in fact, the President's right to pardon individuals is denoted explicitly in the U.S. Constitution. However, for offenses against the state, the right of Presidential pardon does not apply. In these cases, the power of pardon rests with the Governor. To get a pardon in a particular state, you will generally need to receive a Governor's pardon. However, in some states, the Governor's wishes may not be sufficient to earn a pardon. Depending on the state, an agency like the parole board may be in charge of pardons, and may decide pardons independently or in conjunction with the governor.

What Is the Difference Between a Governor's Pardon and Expungement?

Whether a presidential pardon or a governor's pardon, there is a big difference between a pardon and expungement. As mentioned above, when a crime is pardoned, it still exists as a matter of public record that anyone can access. If a crime is expunged, it no longer exists. It is literally as if the crime never happened, and no examination of public records or court order can show that it did. When a crime is pardoned, it is forgiven, but when a conviction is expunged, your record is completely clear.

Who Grants Expungements?

Interestingly, an expungement is easier to obtain than a pardon for certain offenses. If you meet the qualifications for your state, which usually means a first offense and one that did not result in a conviction for a first or second degree felony, sex crime or crime against children, you may apply for expungement. How this procedure works is different in each state, so your best bet is to go to a site like ours and let us figure out everything for you. You can simply give us information about your conviction, and we will inform you what we can do to clear your record under the laws of the state where you were arrested. If you are eligible to clear your record, we can get started on the process that same day. Let an experienced, licensed attorney take care of the whole process for you.

To see if you are eligible to expunge your record, click here.

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