Pardons play a very important role in our criminal justice system and society by giving people a second chance. If you or a loved one is interested in pursuing a pardon it is important to work with an experienced Wisconsin criminal defense attorney.
A pardon is a grant of forgiveness by the governor for a criminal conviction which can restore rights and privileges taken away as a consequence of the conviction. In some states, a pardon can restore an individual’s right to vote or serve on a jury. A pardon can also restore someone’s right to own a firearm or hold public office.
The Difference Between a Pardon and Expungement
Many who have a conviction from an earlier stage in their life may wish to put it behind them to restore their rights and privileges, including their ability to find certain employment. A pardon does not mean that a conviction is expunged, erased, vacated or sealed, but it can most certainly relieve a number of legal disabilities for those convicted of a felony offense.
Eligibility for a Pardon
In Wisconsin, a pardon may be granted for felony convictions under the following criteria:
- The original sentence must be completed at least five years before the pardon application. This includes not only confinement, but all supervised release.
- The applicant must not have a subsequent criminal conviction in any jurisdiction.
- The applicant must not be currently required to register as a sex offender under Wis. Stat. §301.45
Documents Needed to Apply for a Pardon
The petition for a pardon must include a certified copy of the criminal complaint, certified information for each crime, and a certified judgment of conviction. The applicant will also have to include letters of recommendation from neighbors, employers, or others attesting to their character and any other relevant documents.
The Pardon Process
Once you and your attorney have submitted the petition with the supporting documents, you and your legal representative will appear before a Pardon Advisory Board. During the hearing the petitioner and their attorney will be given the opportunity to make their case for a pardon. The Board will then make its recommendation to the Governor, who may grant the pardon.
Contact a Wisconsin Criminal Conviction Pardon Lawyer
If you would like more information regarding the Wisconsin criminal conviction pardon or criminal record expungement process, contact the criminal defense lawyers of Andrew C. Ladd for immediate assistance at 262-542-3900.