How a Governor’s Pardon Can Clear Your Criminal Record

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Someone who committed a crime ten or twenty years ago will still have that conviction on their criminal record, even after they have been fully released from prison, probation, and/or parole. While some criminal convictions can be sealed or expunged from your criminal record (preventing them from showing up on background checks for employment and other purposes) other crimes, such as driving under the influence , are not eligible for either sealing or expungement.

For example, someone might have been convicted of DUI, burglary, or drug possession at age 22, and this can still cause them problems at age 40, such as reducing employment opportunities, preventing them from getting the license necessary to practice a certain profession, and restricting them from getting a FOID card that will allow them to participate in hunting and shooting sports.

For crimes that do not qualify for either sealing or expungement , there is a third option: getting a pardon from the state governor, also known as executive clemency.

Illinois Process for Executive Clemency (Governor Pardon)

1. A good first step is to consult an attorney who has experience with the executive clemency process in Illinois and can advise you of your chances for success. The odds are better for people whose crime is at least ten years in the past and who have been upstanding citizens ever since.

2. You will need to prepare and submit a petition to the Illinois Prisoner Review Board. You must write “a complete and detailed account of the offense(s) for which you seek pardon” along with a complete life history and “your reasons for seeking a pardon, including opportunities that have been denied because of your criminal record.”

3. The Prisoner Review Board holds quarterly hearings to review petitions. Within 60 days of a hearing, the Board will send the governor their recommendations.

4. The governor will decide whether to grant the pardon. There is no deadline by which the governor must respond. The Board will notify you once the governor has made a decision.

5. If you receive a pardon, you can then petition for expungement of that crime from your record.

Clear Your Record with Help from a Joliet Expungement Attorney

Past mistakes should stay in the past, yet one crime committed many years ago can still affect your employment opportunities today. There are several ways to prevent old crimes from showing up on background checks by potential employers. There is sealing, expungement, and even the possibility of a pardon from the state governor. An experienced Will County expungement lawyer can help you determine the right process for you and guide you through the process of clearing your record as thoroughly as possible. Contact the Law Offices of Jack L. Zaremba at 815-740-4025 for a free consultation.