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Okabe & Haushalter

Los Angeles Criminal Pardons Attorney

Receiving A Pardon From The Governor

Los Angeles Criminal Pardon Attorney

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.

What is a California Criminal Pardon?

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:

  • Restore your civil rights
  • Removes occupational blocks
  • Allow you to serve on a jury
  • Work as a county probation officer or a state parole agent
  • Some sex offenders also will be reprieved of their duty to register.

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.

How Common Are Pardons for State Criminal Offenses?

Every state in the nation has an independent system for granting pardons. In California, according to the Restoration of Rights Project:

  • Pardons are given frequent and regular
  • The most recent governors have established a common pardoning practice
  • Eligibility is usually ten years after completion of sentence, though there have been exceptions

The research report, Pardon Statistics, and archived files under the California Office of Governor listed pardons per Governor as follows:

  • (2019-present) Governor Newsom: Has granted 63 pardons so far in his term, though the number is expected to keep pace
  • (1975-1983) (2011-2019) Governor Brown Granted 403 pardons in his first term, then an unprecedented 1,332 pardons in his second term
  • (2003-2011) Governor Schwarzenegger: Granted 3 pardons
  • (1999-2003) Governor Davis: Did not grant any clemency or pardons
  • (1991-1999) Governor Wilson: Granted 13 pardons
  • (1983-1991) Governor Deukmejian: Granted 328 pardons
  • (1967-1975) Governor Reagan: Granted 575 pardons

What is the basis for the Governor’s Decision to Grant a Pardon in California?

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.

What Is The Application 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.

Who is Eligible for a Criminal Pardon?

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.

Pardon Application by Certificate of Rehabilitation

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:

  • First, obtain the petition form for a Certificate of Rehabilitation.
  • This petition can be turned into your local superior court.
  • You will find this document at the court clerk’s office, the probation department, or a public defender’s office.
  • You must also be sure to notify your county’s district attorney and the DA of any other county in which the conviction was made.
  • In this notice, you must include any crimes that you want to be covered.
  • You will then have a hearing that will decide whether or not rehabilitation has been obtained.
  • Once this is decided upon and the CR is granted, a copy will be sent to the Governor as an application for a pardon.

Pardon Application by Direct Request to the Governor

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:

  • Individuals convicted of a sex crime against a child
  • Individuals who have not satisfied the residency requirements

A direct request is also called a traditional pardon. If you choose to take this path you must:

  • First, fill out the Application for Clemency.
  • You can get ahold of this document by directly writing to the Governor’s Office.
  • You can turn it into the same office.
  • You must also send the DA a Notice of Intention to Apply for a Traditional Pardon.

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.

Call Our Los Angeles Criminal Pardon Lawyers Today

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.

To schedule a free consultation with a criminal pardon attorney, click here or call (310) 430-7799. We look forward to serving you.