Life can be a challenge if you’re a convicted felon. You may be barred from certain types of employment. You no longer have the right to vote, hold office, or serve on a jury. You can’t serve as an administrator or executor of an estate. Your right to bear arms will also be restricted.
There is a way to restore your rights if you’ve been convicted, however. You can seek a pardon. According to the Restoration of Rights Project, Texas state law gives the governor the power to grant pardons, but the governor can only do so after receiving a written recommendation from the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles.
There are three types of pardons in Texas:
- Full pardon: which restores all lost constitutional rights
- Conditional pardon: which does not restore rights and carries conditions that the person must follow
- Pardon based on innocence: which restores rights, declares you innocent and erases the conviction
Who is eligible to receive a pardon?
You can seek a pardon after completion of your sentence. The state Board of Pardons and Paroles will also accept applications from individuals convicted of misdemeanors.
A pardon can open up many doors. A full pardon – which is the most common of the three types – removes barriers to some, but not all, jobs. You still may be unable to work in a professional job that requires approval of a state licensing board, since licenses are granted at the board’s discretion. You also cannot work as a police officer in Texas even if you have been pardoned.
The full pardon allows the following:
- Restoration of civil rights, including voting, holding office and serving on a jury
- Expunction of all arrest records related to the conviction (you must petition the appropriate state court)
- Ability to deny that you ever were convicted of the crime related to the pardon (except if questioned under oath at a criminal proceeding)
How to apply for a pardon?
You can complete a full pardon application, which is submitted to the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles. The process, however, can be time-consuming and frustrating. You need to provide evidence as to why it’s in the public’s best interest – as well as your own best interest – to receive a pardon. Many applications are not even considered because they failed to meet the board’s stringent requirements. Even if you complete all the paperwork and submit your application, you’re not by any means guaranteed to get approval.
With the help of an experienced criminal defense attorney, you can increase your chance of getting approved and clearing your record and name. At The Webb Firm, P.C., in Conroe, Texas, we work hard to protect the rights of individuals accused or convicted of crimes.
We can help make sure your application is thorough, complete and persuasive. An attorney can put experience to work and employ the best legal strategy on your behalf.