WHAT IS A “PARDON” AND HOW CAN I GET ONE?
You may want to consult with me about petitioning the governor for a “Simple Pardon”. A simple pardon is granted by the governor on behalf of the Commonwealth and declares that a person convicted of a crime has been officially forgiven for that crime. While it does not expunge or remove the conviction from the record, a notation will appear on the person's criminal record stating that the crime has been forgiven.
To petition for a simple pardon the applicant must be free of all conditions set by the court for a period of five years. This means that you must be off of supervised probation, unsupervised probation, or uniform good behavior, and owe no restitution, community service or other obligation, for five years before we request a pardon.
If any felonies were involved, the applicant must have applied for and been granted a Restoration of Civil Rights before petitioning for the simple pardon. If these conditions have all been met, we then write to the governor of Virginia, including a complete statement regarding the details for each conviction, and an explanation of why the governor should grant your pardon. Everything relevant we wish the governor to consider must be included in this letter petition.
Once the governor receives the petition, we must simply be patient and wait. The petition process does not include any hearing, meeting or conference with the petitioner or their lawyer. A petition for a simple pardon, after being received by the governor's office, is sent to the Secretary of the Commonwealth, which is the office responsible for processing the petition. The Virginia Parole Board is usually asked to investigate and make recommendations to the Secretary and the governor. If the Board finds a petition has merit, it will conduct a thorough investigation. These investigations may take as long as a year to complete. If a petition is denied, another petition cannot be filed for two years afterward.
As dedicated former public servants and defenders of the under-served, it is our pleasure to zealously assist clients in this process, which we believe is under-utilized and often not prepared or presented well. Please call us so that we can discuss the facts of your particular case, and start compiling an excellent pardon petition.