Certificate of Rehabilitation and a Governor’s Pardon

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Certificate of Rehabilitation and a Governor’s Pardon

An individual seeking to expunge a California sex crime conviction from his or her criminal record has three options: An expungement, a Certificate of Rehabilitation And Pardon and/or a Governor’s Pardon. If the conviction was for a misdemeanor or a felony where probation was granted, where a state prison sentence was not imposed and where the sex offense didn’t require registration as a sex offender, the individual would seek expungement. If a felony resulted and state prison was imposed, or if the conviction were a misdemeanor or a felony that required sex offender registration, the individual would apply for a Certificate of Rehabilitation or would directly apply for a Governor’s Pardon, depending on the specific sex offense committed. In order to ensure that the proper forms are filed, that the proper procedure is followed, and that the most compelling arguments are articulately conveyed, only a qualified criminal defense lawyer should be the choice to complete this process.

A Certificate of Rehabilitation is applicable to sex offenses (whether sentenced as misdemeanors or felonies), if specified in Penal Code 290 and a state prison sentence wasn’t imposed. Even under those circumstances, there are five offenses that are ineligible for certificate relief, and these include sodomy with a person under 14 years of age who is 10 years younger than the accused or that was accomplished by force or threats, oral copulation under those same circumstances, lewd or lascivious acts, continuously sexually abusing a child, and forcible acts of penetration. If convicted of one of these crimes or of two or more felonies, an individual must directly apply for a Governor’s Pardon.

Eligibility for a certificate (in addition to the requirements set forth above), includes being a California resident for at least five years before requesting the relief, and, for an additional five years (or seven years if convicted of distributing obscene matter for commercial purposes (knowing that the matter depicts a minor involved in sexual activity), of distributing such material directly to a minor, of advertising obscene materials (knowing that the matter depicts a minor, of sexually exploiting a child, and for certain lewd or lascivious acts involving indecent exposure), leading an honest life, free from any further convictions. If convicted of a crime requiring Penal Code 290 registration, the individual seeking relief must first have his or her conviction dismissed in line with expungement procedures before applying for a certificate.

A Certificate of Rehabilitation declares that an individual has been rehabilitated. If granted, the certificate relieves an individual of the requirement to register as a sex offender if the crime for which he or she was convicted is not specifically excluded from this relief. Once approved, the certificate is forwarded to the Governor and acts as an application for a pardon, which may be granted without further investigation.

A Governor’s Pardon relieves an individual of the lifetime obligation to register as a sex offender, but doesn’t automatically restore a license, permit or certificate that was revoked at the time of the conviction. It should be noted that an individual convicted of one of the above listed – sex offenses that are ineligible for certificate relief will only be granted a pardon under extraordinary circumstances, which is why it is so important to have an experienced attorney complete the application process to increase one’s chances of success. A pardon is reserved for those individuals who prove that they have lead meaningful, productive lives for at least ten years (less, under extreme circumstances) since their convictions. An individual who has incurred two felony convictions may directly apply for this relief, but must have the recommendation of a majority of the Supreme Court Justices to do so. Although a Certificate of Rehabilitation will be considered when the Governor contemplates granting a pardon, it will not be the only factor measured.

For more information about how to apply for a certificate or a pardon, contact the exceptional criminal defense attorneys at The Kavinoky Law Firm today for a free consultation and unequaled legal representation.