If you’ve ever committed a crime, or know someone who has committed a crime, you understand how severely this can impact a person’s life and livelihood. From where you live to where you work, having a criminal record can ultimately end up reducing a person’s overall quality of life. However, did you know that in the state of Virginia, there is not just one type of pardon that can be issued by the Governor…but four?
Keep reading to learn more about what a legal pardon is and the different types of pardons that are available for people convicted of crimes in Virginia.
What Is A Pardon?
The idea of a pardon is a very simple one. Those who are granted a pardon are, in essence, “forgiven” of whatever criminal activity they were convicted of. A pardon may help you or your loved one pursue educational, professional, or personal goals if a criminal history has held you back.
What are the Four Types of Pardons in Virginia
Below are listed the four types of pardons you can apply for depending on your circumstances:
- Simple Pardon
- Conditional Pardon
- Medical Pardon
- Absolute Pardon
A ‘simple pardon’ is an official act of forgiveness that is available to anyone who has completed all of the terms of their criminal sentence. This does not expunge a conviction, but can open up educational or employment opportunities that may have been closed to an individual due to their criminal record. A simple pardon is also followed by a waiting period of five years.
A ‘conditional pardon’ is essentially early release for a prisoner who demonstrates extraordinary circumstances to support being released from his or her sentence before it has been completed. The restoration of one’s gun rights will often not be included in this type of pardon.
A ‘medical pardon’ is also early release for a prisoner, but only for one who is terminally ill and expected to live three months or less.
An ‘absolute pardon’ is only available to people who were wrongfully convicted of a crime for which they are actually innocent. Those granted an absolute pardon would then be able to ask that their convictions be completely removed from their criminal records.
It should be noted however that all petitions for pardons are considered by the governor’s office and are entirely discretionary. This means that even if you qualify for a certain pardon, the governor’s office is not required to give it to you. Because of this, it is always wise to consult with an attorney to decide whether or not you or a loved one would make a good candidate for a pardon, and which type of pardon would be most applicable to your specific situation. The Center for Criminal and Immigration Law is a boutique law firm in Virginia that specializes in immigration and criminal law. Contact them today for a free consultation!