A person with a federal crime or court-martial conviction on their record can apply for clemency in the form of a pardon or commutation of a sentence by the President. The presidential pardon process is complicated and subject to strict rules, and navigating all of these requirements can be intimidating to those without years of legal experience.
There are waiting periods, offense requirements, and many more hurdles a defendant is expected to go through to even be considered for a pardon. An experienced Atlanta federal crime pardons lawyer could help you navigate the complex pardon process to give your request the best possible chance of success.
To understand the legal process to obtain a presidential pardon for federal crimes, it is helpful to be familiar with some key terms, including clemency. Clemency is an encompassing term that applies to the President’s power to grant leniency to those who have committed a federal crime. Executive clemency includes both commutations and pardons.
Commutations are different than pardons. A commutation reduces a sentence, either in part or in whole. It does not erase a conviction or remove any civil disabilities such as the right to own a gun, right to vote, or right to serve on a jury. Commutations may, in addition to dismissing prison time, wipe away financial obligations.
A pardon is a President’s forgiveness of the federal crime or court martial sentence. This not only removes the sentence imposed for the conviction, but the conviction itself. It will also remove most of the civil disabilities associated with the crime of which a person was convicted. A knowledgeable local attorney could further define these terms to a defendant seeking a federal pardon
Obtaining a presidential pardon through the Department of Justice process, as most requests for pardons are done, requires following many different rules. First, the defendant and their attorney must submit a petition to the Department of Justice Office of the Pardon Attorney.
Under their guidelines, an applicant is required to wait five years before they become eligible for a pardon of their crime. This five-year period starts the day a person is released from confinement, or if never confined, from the date the judgment entry of sentence is entered. If an application is denied, it can be renewed, but requires waiting another two years before the next application can be considered.
Particular information is required on the petition, including:
This information needs to be accurate and detailed for the petition to even be considered. False information on a petition can lead to a new criminal sentence and a fine of up to $250,000. It could be beneficial for a defendant to have a federal crime pardons attorney in the area file their petition to avoid a rejection or a criminal offense due to a simple error.
The President is not able to pardon state crime convictions, only those for federal crimes and military crimes. There are methods to seek a pardon for state crimes, or other forms of post-conviction relief, but that process is done through a different government body.
If you want to petition for a pardon of your federal or military crime, it is important to be aware of the lengthy and complex process that is required. It could be too overwhelming to attempt to file a petition without legal counsel, but an experienced Atlanta federal crime pardons lawyer could have the knowledge and skill to help. Contact us today to set up an initial consultation.