How to get a Governor’s Pardon in California

california governor's pardon

A person who has been convicted of a crime in California can apply for a California Governor’s pardon. It is considered to be an honor that may be granted to people who have demonstrated exemplary behavior following their conviction.

There are 2 ways to get a California Governor’s Pardon:

1. Certificate of Rehabilitation
2. Direct Pardon

Certificate of Rehabilitation

California Penal Code 4852.01 PC and 4852.21 PC sets forth that a Certificate of Rehabilitation is a court order stating the rehabilitation of a person convicted of committing of a felony and faced sentencing in a state prison. The Certificate of Rehabilitation allows applying to the Governor for a Pardon. An issued Certificate of Rehabilitation is forwarded to the Governor’s Office and it automatically becomes an application for a pardon. However, you should take into consideration that the Certificate of Rehabilitation does not guarantee a pardon.

Direct Pardon

Persons who are not eligible for a Certificate of Rehabilitation can use this way to achieve their Pardon. In general, there are 2 categories of people who often use this way of getting a Pardon:

a) People convicted in California and actually residing out-of-state,
b) People convicted of some specified sex crimes or misdemeanor offences and, thus, not eligible for a Certificate of Rehabilitation.

It should be taken into consideration that the Governor is not required to take any action after receiving an application for a pardon. In most cases, the Governor’s Office forwards application to the Board of Parole Hearings. In its turn, the Board can start an investigation and gives its recommendation whether a pardon should be granted or not. If the applicant has been convicted of a felony more than one time, it is required that the California Supreme Court recommend granting a pardon before the Governor would decide to do it.

If the Governor decides to take actions, the applicant would be notified. However, it is always unknown how long the procedure can last.

The Margarian Law Firm aggressively protects the rights of criminal defendants in California. We are a client-centered professional expungement law firm, not a mass-market expungement mill. When our law firm accepts your California criminal case, you can put your mind at ease. We handle every aspect of your case, from the very start through the very last court hearing, all for a flat fee agreed upon before we begin.

You may file your request online, by telephone or by mail. 818-553-1000

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