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What do government authorities look at when considering clemency?

On Behalf of | Apr 14, 2022 | Pardons & Clemency

Executive clemency is an umbrella term that covers pardons (Presidential or Gubernatorial) and the commutation of federal sentences. We believe that not enough U.S. citizens understand that they may qualify for executive clemency.

If you are interested in clemency or a pardon for your federal conviction, you must first understand the way it works.

Can it erase your record?

If the President or a state Governor pardons you, you will still have a criminal record. Instead of erasure, pardons and sentence commutations are more like gestures of forgiveness from a trusted figure. To have your criminal record cleared if your petition succeeds, you must seek expungement or have your criminal records sealed. 

How do you qualify for executive clemency?

The authorities in your bid will examine several factors when deciding if you deserve a pardon. Examples include:

  • Acceptance and remorse. A petition for clemency is not the venue in which to make excuses or defend yourself. Instead, petition reviewers look for acceptance of responsibility for your actions and genuine remorse.
  • Age of your crime. If significant time has elapsed since your conviction, you have a better chance of qualifying for clemency. If your conviction involved a violent crime, it is not wise to seek a pardon or a clemency action until more time has passed.
  • Legal disabilities. When an old conviction makes it impossible to find employment, your bid for clemency may succeed because it causes you legal disabilities.
  • Current character. If you can show reviewers that you now lead a productive and responsible lifestyle, it can strengthen your petition. They want to see employment stability, a favorable community reputation and other signs of post-conviction responsibility.

Learning more about pardons and executive clemency can improve your odds of success. Legal guidance can also help.