Have you been convicted of a crime in Texas and since faced obstacles to obtaining employment or a state license? Have you attempted to obtain relief through sealing, expungement, or set aside, but were denied or aren't eligible? Good news! You may be able to request a pardon directly from the Governor of Texas.
A pardon from the governor is granted to individuals who have demonstrated exemplary behavior and rehabilitation, as well as personal and professional growth, following their conviction. A pardon can restore certain civil rights as well as firearm rights and can remove obstacles to employment, housing, or licensure.
If you would like to find out if a governor’s pardon is the best option for you, we recommend that you take our free and confidential online record clearing eligibility test. It is the easiest way to determine if a pardon is your best option for clearing your record.
If your felony sentence has been discharged or you have successfully completed a term of deferred adjudication or community supervision, then you are eligible for a pardon. Currently, full pardons are not being considered for people in prison. Also, if your case received a deferred adjudication, you must wait for 10 years after completion of the deferred adjudication sentence. You also must wait two years from a Board denial before reapplying.
To be a good candidate for a pardon, a person must be able to demonstrate that they are fully rehabilitated and reformed. Generally, this is demonstrated by years of law-abiding behavior, hard work exemplified in careers and personal life, and involvement in the community.
In Texas, you can apply for different types of pardons depending on your situation. The three types of applications for pardons are - Pardon, - Pardon with Firearm Rights Restoration, and - Firearm Rights Restoration, if you've already received a pardon that didn’t include restoration of firearm rights.
A pardon is “an unconditional act of executive clemency” and is available to anyone who has been convicted of a felony, misdemeanor or traffic offense. It is also available to anyone who has completed a term of deferred adjudication community supervision. If you successfully obtain a pardon with firearm rights restoration, all of your civil rights are restored. Although your right to vote is automatically restored upon completion of your sentence, your right to hold public office, your right to serve on a jury, and your right to serve as an executor or administrator of an estate are not. Therefore, to restore these rights, a pardon may be necessary.
A pardon does not by default include gun rights restoration, although you can apply for gun rights restoration at the same time as applying for a pardon.
If you are applying for a Pardon, you may also simultaneously apply to restore your Firearm Rights in the same application.
Luckily, felony and misdemeanor domestic violence convictions are eligible for the restoration of firearms rights. This includes Class C Domestic Violence cases. While Texas does not have a misdemeanor domestic violence firearm ban, the Texas Pardon with Firearm Rights Restoration removes the federal ban for domestic violence convictions.
We generally recommend that our clients apply for the pardon with gun rights restoration rather than a simple pardon alone when the client has a felony or misdemeanor domestic violence case on his or her record.
If you have previously received a pardon that didn't include firearm rights, you are eligible to apply to restore your firearm rights in Texas. If you have not obtained a pardon, you will need to first do so before you can apply to restore your firearm rights. Fortunately, you can apply for a pardon and firearm rights restoration at the same time. A restoration of firearm rights granted by the governor will restore your firearm rights in the state of Texas. All applications will be reviewed by the Board of Pardons and Paroles prior to being considered by the Governor. If the Governor restores your firearm rights, you will be able to own, carry, transport, purchase, or receive a firearm. A Texas pardon combined with firearm rights restoration (either granted at the same time or later) will also remove the federal firearm ban from the conviction. In other words, you would no longer be banned from firearm ownership under federal law. Please note, restoring your firearm rights in Texas may not restore your firearm rights in other states. However, since firearm rights restoration in Texas is coupled with a pardon, most states will likely honor the Texas restoration and allow you to legally purchase and possess firearms.
While the current Texas Governor has only granted a handful of pardons in the past several years, pardons are considered on a case-by-case basis. The pardons that have been granted were to individuals with minor convictions. Furthermore, only about half of those recommended by the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles were granted pardons. In 2017, the Board recommended 16 out of the 89 (or 18%) Noncapital case applications and recommended 0 out of the 3 Capital case applications. Therefore, the likelihood of success is still quite low. By setting aside your application from those of other applicants, we believe that you are more likely to receive a positive recommendation from the Board of Pardons. See the 2017 Statistical Report of the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles for statistics on Texas Pardons.
Although your right to possess a firearm in your own home is automatically restored to you upon the passing of five years from the date of your release from confinement or release from community supervision, mandatory supervision, or parole, you are not allowed to possess a firearm in any other instance. Obtaining a pardon along with firearm restoration will restore your ability to purchase, transport, receive, and own a firearm even outside of your home.
Additionally, a pardon will help remove barriers to some types of employment and professional licensing. If you receive a pardon, you will also be entitled to expunge all of your arrest records that relate to the conviction that was pardoned.
Furthermore, a pardon has other important benefits including:
Unfortunately, a pardon will not restore your ability to serve as a Licensed Peace Officer in Texas. Additionally, some licensing boards in particular professions and fields may have different restrictions and requirements to obtain licensure. We recommend you check directly with a professional licensing board to determine whether a pardon will allow you to obtain employment or licensure in a respective field. Also, pardons do not remove you from the sex offender registry unless the pardon is granted for innocence under Article 62.002(c).
Pardons are submitted to the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles, the board which considers pardons and recommends select applications to the Governor (37 Tex. Admin. Code § 143.5).
Members of the Board of Pardons and Paroles will review each petition and cast a vote. This can be done individually, without consulting other board members. Votes casted are public information. If a majority vote from the board grants one’s petition, the petition for pardon moves to the Governor for approval or denial.
While a pardon can in rare cases be considered quickly, most pardons application are not. You should expect a pardon decision to potentially take many years. Because of the unknown time frame, we end our representation at the point of filing, although we also can attend any required hearings on your behalf for a reasonable fee.
The best way to start the process is to begin gathering any evidence of your reform and positive things you have done in your life. We also believe that contacting an attorney would be an important step to give you the best odds of success because you want to make sure that your petition is put together as well as possible. To begin the process, you can take our eligibility test or call our office to speak to one of our specialists.
Our exclusive Expedited Record Clearance Update service allows us to have the leading background check companies reflect changes to your criminal record in less than 14 days, instead of months and even years like our competitors.
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* In some instances a report from the Department of Public Safety may need to be obtained. This may require you to be fingerprinted and you may need to pay an additional approximate amount of $15.
There is an additional fee of $500 for representation at a public hearing if one is held (optional).
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