One of the best ways for convicted felons to regain their rights and lift the stigma associated with their criminal past is to receive a pardon. While it can take up to a year to process an application for a pardon, the benefits of receiving a pardon are priceless. From restoration of individual rights to increased ease of securing employment, the advantages of receiving a pardon can be life-changing. Below is a look at the top seven benefits of a pardon.
What Is a Pardon and How is One Granted?
Before exploring some of the many benefits of a pardon, it is helpful to clarify the definition of a pardon. A pardon is an official sign of forgiveness from State for past criminal convictions. A pardon is issued by the Governor only upon approval of a formal application and receipt of a favorable recommendation from the Pardon and Parole Board.
If you're interested in determining whether you're eligible for a pardon, use our free online eligiblity app to find out if you're eligible within minutes.
A Look at the Top Benefits of a Pardon
While a pardon will not clear your record, it serves as official confirmation that a person with a criminal past has taken the right steps to become a law-abiding citizen. The most significant benefits of a pardon are outlined below.
#1 Restoration of key rights.
If you are convicted of a felony, you will lose your right to own a gun, vote, receive a passport, serve on a jury, and hold public office. Receipt of a pardon restores these rights, enabling you to become an integral member of your community.
#2 A pardon provides official acknowledgement that you are back on track.
A pardon does not change the fact that a person has a criminal record. However, it acknowledges that a person has worked diligently to become a productive, law-abiding member of society. Accordingly, people who have received a pardon can be admitted to a professional school or take the Civil Service Examination.
#3 Receiving a pardon can help eliminate the stigma associated with criminal behavior.
The stigma associated with a felony conviction can be difficult to erase. The official forgiveness from the State that accompanies a pardon is often instrumental in alleviating the stigma associated with felony convictions.
#4 Eligibility to own a firearm is restored.
People with felony convictions cannot legally own a firearm or even live in the same residence with someone that does. Fortunately, people who have been pardoned for non-violent felony offenses regain their 2nd Amendment Rights, as long as no other extenuating circumstances are present.
#5 A pardon may enable you to have your record expunged.
People who receive a pardon for a felony conviction may be able to petition to have their records expunged. Eligibility to have a felony conviction expunged is currently limited to people who have one or two non-violent felony crimes, no pending charges among other stipulations.
#6 Obtaining employment is easier for people who have been pardoned.
One of the most significant benefits of a pardon is the increased ease of securing a job. Employers are often reluctant to hire a convicted felon, but they are more likely to consider applicants who have been granted a pardon. If the State can forgive you, most other people will also.
#7 Official verification from the Governor.
When a pardon is granted by the Governor, you receive an official pardon certificate confirming that you were granted a pardon. You can also request additional certified copies of your pardon certificate from the Oklahoma Secretary of State’s Office. This official documentation provides tangible evidence that you have been forgiven for your past conviction(s).
The Most Important Step in Obtaining a Pardon
Completing an application is the first step to take when seeking a pardon. Applicants must realize that there is no guarantee that the Oklahoma Pardon & Parole Board will recommend the Governor grant a pardon, and should make every effort to take the application process seriously.
The best way to increase your chances of receiving a pardon is to enlist the support of an experienced lawyer. With the help of a trusted professional, you can ensure that you optimize your odds of receiving a pardon.