A criminal conviction does not have to be the end of the road. There are a number of avenues you can go down to alleviate the aftermath of a conviction. In some cases, you may be able to have your records expunged or sealed. Another option is to receive a Certificate of Rehabilitation. This document does not seal your records, but it does show society and a potential employer that you have changed and are reformed from your crime. If you are granted a Certificate of Rehabilitation, it will work as an automatic application to the state’s Governor for a pardon. Essentially a pardon is the forgiveness or cancellation of a crime and its penalty. A federal crime can only be pardoned by the President. State offenses, however, can be pardoned by a Governor.
At Okabe & Haushalter, our Los Angeles criminal pardon attorneys can help you through the complex process of obtaining a Governor’s pardon. If you or a loved one has been convicted of a crime and are seeking to restore your civil rights, contact our offices immediately. You can schedule a consultation with an esteemed criminal pardon lawyer by clicking here or calling (310) 430-7799.
Under California law, a pardon is an honor vested in tradition. A pardon normally will only be given to individuals who have displayed exemplary behavior after their felony convictions. This type of forgiveness is not extended to everyone who meets all the qualifications—it is dependent entirely on the will of the Governor. The decision is based on whether or not the individual in question has proved to be a useful, productive, and law-abiding citizen.
It is important to know that a pardon is not the same thing as an expungement. Your record will not be sealed as this decision is a public record in and of itself. Nor can you say that you have no criminal record.
However, you can say that you have been pardoned. The pardon does:
The right to bear arms cannot be restored with a pardon. If you have been convicted of a crime and wish to restore your gun rights, there is a separate process that may help. Contact the law offices of Okabe & Haushalter and consult with one of our criminal defense attorneys in Los Angeles.
Every state in the nation has an independent system for granting pardons. In California, according to the Restoration of Rights Project:
The Governor of California does not have a checklist for granting pardons. A pardon is a symbol of forgiveness and honor bestowed at the Governor’s discretion. There is no oversight or committee.
Typically, an offender is assumed to be guilty of the crime they were convicted of. Pardons are usually granted to those deemed rehabilitated and who show commendable and admirable qualities thereafter.
Unless the Governor explains the reason, there is no way to know what factors into the decision-making process.
A Los Angeles criminal pardon attorney can help with the complex application process. At Okabe & Haushalter, our knowledgeable team can assist and guide you every step of the way.
When you go to apply for a Governor’s pardon, you must first make sure that you meet all eligibility requirements. If you were convicted of a felony or a sex offense misdemeanor listed in §290 of the state’s Penal Code you will qualify if you have been discharged from custody and have completed your parole or probation. Also, you must not have been convicted of another charge since you were released and you must have lived in California for five years before you file the petition.
Once you are sure that you qualify, you can begin the application process.
There are two methods to applying for a pardon from the Governor.
As discussed above, a Certificate of Rehabilitation is an automatic track to receiving a pardon from the Governor. The certificate confirms that you have been rehabilitated after serving your time.
The process involves:
Another path involves direct correspondence with the Governor’s Office. Usually, this is reserved for those who do not qualify for a Certificate of Rehabilitation, including:
A direct request is also called a traditional pardon. If you choose to take this path you must:
It should be noted that if you are convicted of another felony, the pardon will not keep your prior conviction completely out of the discussion. It may still be considered.
Okabe & Haushalter is a highly experienced, internationally recognized civil representation and criminal defense law firm. For more than two decades, our criminal pardon attorneys in Los Angeles have gained superior representation and responsive service.
If you or a loved one has been affected by their prior criminal convictions and are seeking to restore their civil rights, contact Okabe & Haushalter today.