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Pardons in Criminal Cases

If you have been convicted of a felony in Wyoming or in federal court, a pardon may be the only way to seek relief from the consequences of your conviction. People who have been convicted of a felony lose many of their civil rights, including the right to vote, the right to run for office, the right to serve on a jury, and the right to possess a firearm. They are also subject to employment restrictions and face difficulty obtaining certain professional licenses.

The process of applying for a pardon is complicated and should not be attempted without the assistance of an experienced attorney. At Just Criminal Law, our team of criminal defense professionals has vast experience working in the criminal justice system and is here to help with your application for a pardon.

What Is a Pardon?

A pardon signifies forgiveness for having committed a crime and eliminates any remaining sentence, probation, or unpaid fines. A pardon also removes collateral consequences of a conviction and allows a person who has been convicted of a crime to vote, hold professional licenses, run for political office, and own a gun.

A pardon does not indicate that a person is innocent, and it does not expunge a conviction. After a pardon, your criminal record can still be seen by law enforcement personnel, will come up in a background check, and must be disclosed if you are asked if you have ever been convicted of a crime. However, a pardon will restore rights that were been lost due to a criminal conviction, including:

  • The right to vote
  • The right to run for office
  • The right to serve on a jury
  • The right to possess firearms

Pardons for a Federal Criminal Conviction

If you have been convicted of a crime in federal court, only the President of the United States can grant a pardon. This power is granted to the President in Article II, Section 2 of the United States Constitution.

A request for a presidential pardon must be submitted to and reviewed by the Department of Justice. According to the DOJ’s rules for clemency, a person must wait until 5 years after their release from prison to apply for a pardon.

Request a Pardon for a Wyoming Felony Conviction

In Wyoming, the decision to grant or deny a pardon lies with the governor. The governor has the exclusive right to issue a pardon under Wyoming Constitution Article 4 Section 5. If a pardon is granted, the Governor must report to the legislature every pardon that was granted and the reasons for the pardon.

How Is a Pardon Different from an Expungement?

A pardon is different from an expungement. If a person has received a pardon and is later asked if they have been convicted of a crime, they must answer yes, but can add that they received a pardon. A pardon assumes that the offender is guilty of the underlying offense and that he has been rehabilitated. If a person has received a pardon and is charged with another crime, the court can consider the pardoned offense in deciding on a punishment. 

An expungement can only be granted by a judge. An expungement eliminates any record of a criminal conviction and seals the case from public view. When an expungement is granted, a person can truthfully answer in all but a few circumstances that they have not been convicted of a crime.

Am I Eligible for a Pardon?

In Wyoming, a person becomes eligible for a pardon ten years after the completion of their sentence. People who have been convicted of sexual crimes and crimes that involve a child as a victim are usually not considered for a pardon.

How Do I Apply for a Pardon?

To apply for a pardon in Wyoming you must submit your application directly to the governor’s office. The contents of the application for a pardon will vary depending on the nature of your crime, but must include your name and the offense you were convicted of committing, your sentence, and any additional criminal charges. The governor must give notice to the prosecuting attorney three weeks before issuing the pardon, and the prosecutor will have a chance to respond.  

Considering Applying for a Pardon? Contact a Lawyer Today

A pardon is uncommon and the process is not transparent. If you are considering requesting a pardon you need to work with an experienced criminal defense lawyer. At Just Criminal Law, criminal defense lawyer Christina L. Williams and her team of criminal defense professionals have extensive experience working in the criminal justice system and are well-equipped to assist you with your request for a pardon. We will be by your side, supporting you as you work through the process of clearing your name. 

We invite you to learn more about us and the types of cases we handle. Meet our founding attorney, Christina L. Williams, and learn about her commitment to seeking justice for her clients. Read why clients choose us and testimonials from other people we’ve helped. Then contact us today to schedule a case review and strategy session to discuss your case. Call 307-686-6556, email info@justcriminallaw.com, or complete our online form.

DISCLAIMER: The information contained in this article is offered for educational purposes only. This information is not offered as legal advice. A person accused of a crime should always consult with an attorney before making decisions that have legal consequences.

Categories: Expungement

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