If you have questions about pardons in Minnesota, you have come to the right place. Our attorneys have answered all of the most commonly asked questions that we have received on the topic. If you are trying to determine if you are eligible for a pardon, you can take our free online eligibility test.
The application requires three letters of recommendation. We also suggest providing your attorney with any information or documentation that shows that you are a productive member of society, rehabilitated, and that a pardon will benefit society as well as benefit you. This can be shown with letters, transcripts, awards, job applications/proof of employment, volunteer work, etc.
For a small researching fee, we can obtain your records and determine what type of relief you are eligible for under Minnesota law. The fee would be applied to the cost of any service that you hire us to perform.
If you were convicted of a crime of violence then you must wait ten years after the date of discharge. Minn. Stat. 624.712(5) defines a crime of violence as:
felony convictions of the following offenses: sections 609.185 (murder in the first degree); 609.19 (murder in the second degree); 609.195 (murder in the third degree); 609.20 (manslaughter in the first degree); 609.205 (manslaughter in the second degree); 609.215 (aiding suicide and aiding attempted suicide); 609.221 (assault in the first degree); 609.222 (assault in the second degree); 609.223 (assault in the third degree); 609.2231 (assault in the fourth degree); 609.229 (crimes committed for the benefit of a gang); 609.235 (use of drugs to injure or facilitate crime); 609.24 (simple robbery); 609.245 (aggravated robbery); 609.25 (kidnapping); 609.255 (false imprisonment); 609.322 (solicitation, inducement, and promotion of prostitution; sex trafficking); 609.342 (criminal sexual conduct in the first degree); 609.343 (criminal sexual conduct in the second degree); 609.344 (criminal sexual conduct in the third degree); 609.345 (criminal sexual conduct in the fourth degree); 609.377 (malicious punishment of a child); 609.378 (neglect or endangerment of a child); 609.486 (commission of crime while wearing or possessing a bullet-resistant vest); 609.52 (involving theft of a firearm, theft involving the intentional taking or driving of a motor vehicle without the consent of the owner or authorized agent of the owner, theft involving the taking of property from a burning, abandoned, or vacant building, or from an area of destruction caused by civil disaster, riot, bombing, or the proximity of battle, and theft involving the theft of a controlled substance, an explosive, or an incendiary device); 609.561 (arson in the first degree); 609.562 (arson in the second degree); 609.582, subdivision 1, 2, or 3 (burglary in the first through third degrees); 609.66, subdivision 1e (drive-by shooting); 609.67 (unlawfully owning, possessing, operating a machine gun or short-barreled shotgun); 609.71 (riot); 609.713 (terroristic threats); 609.749 (stalking); 609.855, subdivision 5 (shooting at a public transit vehicle or facility); and chapter 152 (drugs, controlled substances); and an attempt to commit any of these offenses.
If you were not convicted of a crime of violence then the waiting period is five years from the date of discharge.
We can file for multiple cases on one petition but we do have to complete additional information and get additional court records. Therefore, we do charge an additional fee to add multiple cases to an application.
Also, if you were convicted of a new offense during the waiting period, then the waiting period restarts. Therefore, the waiting period (amount determined by the offense you are trying to pardon) would begin to run from the most recent date of discharge for all your convictions. This includes any misdemeanor, gross misdemeanor, felony, or traffic offense of DWI or more serious. Minn. Stat. 638.02(2).
If it is denied, it is usually because of (1) the Board does not believe it is warranted or does not find extraordinary circumstances, (2) your criminal history, including whether you violated probation or (3) the nature/circumstances of the crime.
A person that is convicted in federal court must file a pardon petition with the President. We do not handle federal cases. Also, in order to file for a pardon in MN you must have been convicted in a MN District Court. Minn. Stat. 683.01
Once your petition is filed, the Board will set a hearing date. At the hearing the board members will vote and decide whether or not to grant the pardon. The hearings are scheduled twice a year, in the spring and in the fall.
Yes, we recommend you attend the hearing and testify on your behalf; however, we recommend you have attorney that also appears on your behalf.
The county attorney and judge who were involved with your case are contacted. Also, any victims are asked for their input about your application for a pardon. Minn. Stat. 638.06 Notice of the pardon application will be published in a newspaper in the county of the conviction. Minn. Stat. 638.06
It takes about a year to receive a hearing date. After the hearing, it typically takes 90 to 120 days to receive a decision.
The Board works on a first-come, first-served basis and only holds two hearings a year. Because of this, the process cannot be expedited. The sooner you begin the process and get the application filed, the sooner your conviction can be pardoned.
If the case is denied, we evaluate the reason for the denial and determine the best way to proceed. However, if the petition was denied on the merits, then you must have permission from a majority of the Board to reapply. Minn. Stat. 638.06
No. After your conviction is pardoned you are no longer “required to disclose the conviction at any time or place other than in a judicial proceeding or as part of the licensing process for peace officers.” Minn. Stat. 638.02(2)
A pardon sets aside the conviction so you are no longer convicted. A commutation is a reduction of the sentence and you are still convicted.
There is no statutory or case law that states whether the pardon will terminate the registration requirement. However, we believe a pardon would terminate the requirement to register because the conviction is set aside.
The Canadian government has entered into an information sharing agreement with the US and will have the same information as the United States. A MN pardon will show the Canadian government that the conviction has been pardoned/forgiven and will greatly improve your odds of being granted entry into Canada.
In Minnesota, your voting rights are automatically restored upon your completion of the sentence. Minn. Stat. 609.165
Criminal violations may have severe consequences for immigrants, but every case is different. To find out if your criminal conviction impacts your immigration case, you should contact a qualified immigration attorney. You may contact our in-house immigration attorney at 714-617-8395.
The two most common reasons for a person to lose their right to own or possess a firearm in MN are (1) being convicted of a crime of violence or (2) being convicted of misdemeanor domestic violence.
(1) If you were convicted of a crime of violence then you are prohibited from the use, possession, or ownership of a firearm, a pardon may restore your right to possess, use, or own a firearm. The Governor can choose to restore the right with a pardon extraordinary or can limit the relief with a conditional pardon. You might be eligible to restore your right through the restoration process. To determine eligibility for restoration of the right to own a firearm, please see section on restoring gun rights.
(2) There is also a lifetime prohibition from the United States government (Lautenberg Amendment to the Violence Against Women Act), which prohibits firearm ownership of those convicted of misdemeanor domestic violence as defined by the federal law. A pardon in MN that restores firearm rights should lift the federal prohibition. United States v. Smith, 171 F.3d 617 (8th Cir.1999)
No. Once your conviction has been pardoned, Minn. Stat. 638.02(3) states the court sets aside the conviction and your BCA criminal history is updated to indicate that you were granted a pardon.
If your pardon is granted then you will receive a letter stating you were granted a pardon. The Board of Pardons will have each member sign a certificate drafted by the Board and will send the signed certificate and a court order to the county where the conviction originated. After the court order is signed it is sent to the agencies that were involved with the case and the BCA. The BCA then updates your criminal history and notifies the Board that it is done. After everything is updated the Board will send you a certified copy of the certificate, a copy of the court order, and a copy of the BCA notification of the update.
The agencies are notified by the court to update your records and criminal history.
It typically takes 90-120 days.