Having a conviction for a criminal offense on your record can cause a host of difficulties with everything from employment, housing, and even your personal life. Receiving a pardon through the South Carolina Department of Probation, Parole and Pardon Services can eliminate many of those concerns.
However, the process of applying for a pardon can be confusing and it may be difficult to determine whether you are eligible. Moreover, a mistake in the application process could prove costly. For that reason, many people choose to work with an experienced attorney. A South Carolina pardons lawyer can provide guidance and assist in completing the application process and advocate on their behalf at the hearing.
To have a criminal offense pardoned can mean different things in different jurisdictions. In most cases in South Carolina, an individual who receives a pardon has their civil rights restored but it does not remove the conviction from a person’s criminal record. The definition for a pardon and the application process can be reviewed on the DPPPS website.
An applicant’s eligibility for a pardon depends on the circumstances and status of each person’s convictions, including the status of the applicant. Those who have served a term of probation are eligible to apply for a pardon at any point after they have been discharged from supervision, so long as they have paid all required restitution.
Individuals who are currently on parole may apply for a pardon after five years of supervision or after their discharge date and successful completion of parole, if it is for a term of less than five years. As with probationers, parolees must pay all restitution to be eligible for a pardon. Those discharged from a criminal sentence are eligible to apply for a pardon at any point after the date of discharge, so long as restitution has been fully paid.
Inmates currently serving a sentence may be eligible to apply for a pardon, but only after a showing of the most extraordinary circumstances. After full payment of restitution owed. Inmates suffering from a terminal illness who have a life expectancy of less than a year (documented by the statements of two doctors) would be among those eligible to be considered for a pardon. Any person who belives that they fit the criteria for eligibility, consult with a South Carolina pardons lawyer.
The process of applying for a South Carolina pardon is made up of three different parts:
The Board of the Department of Probation, Parole and Pardon Services must be informed of the name, address and phone numbers of the people who will be submitting support letters, and the letters must be signed and dated within the prior six months. The application form must also be signed and dated, and the Release of Information section must be properly notarized.
Once the information is submitted, it takes approximately seven-to-nine months for verification and review before the Board schedules a hearing date. All decisions made by the Board concerning the application are considered final. If the Board finds in the applicant’s favor, a Pardon Certificate is issued and the individual receiving the pardon will enjoy a return of certain civil rights. For help with applying for a pardon, contact a South Carolina pardons lawyer today.
The process of applying for and obtaining a federal pardon is considerably different. Only the President of the United States may grant a federal pardon, although application is submitted to the Office of the Pardon Attorney at the Department of Justice for review. In addition, federal pardons may only be granted for federal offenses.
Those who wish to learn more about how to demonstrate eligibility for a pardon or to ensure that the application process is completed in the manner most likely to lead to a successful outcome are advised to consult a South Carolina pardons lawyer who can assist with the process.