A pardon is requested when a convicted criminal wants to escape their punishment, or an authority figure wishes to free a person from the legal consequences of that person’s crime. Pardons are only granted under certain circumstances and when certain criteria are met. The steps for requesting a pardon must all be met for a pardon to be approved and even then, not every pardon may be granted depending on the crime. If you have questions about this process, be sure to contact an experienced Tennessee criminal law lawyer.
Basics of a Pardon
When it comes to pardons, these can often be confused with expungements, a commutation of sentence, and a reprieve. These are all different types of legal requests granted by authority figures. An expungement is a legal action that removes your criminal record from the public. This does not always mean your criminal history will be removed from private police records or media outlets, but this can help people when applying for jobs or colleges.
A commutation of sentence is a legal action that shortens your prison sentence, whereas a reprieve stops a previously scheduled death penalty or other form of legal punishment. Amnesty can also be confused with pardons, but an amnesty is a forgiveness of crimes committed because of a significant change in public circumstances like factors related to war.
Pardons involve an authority figure like the governor or president, forgiving a criminal of a crime. This prevents that person from facing the full punishment they would normally face if they were not granted a pardon. For some people, this can mean a return home from prison.
Steps for Requesting a Pardon
Before requesting a pardon, make sure you meet the full criteria for one. The Tennessee governor only considers pardons under certain circumstances. These circumstances apply for people who have not been convicted within five years of completing their sentence, meet the requirements of good citizenship, and have a sufficient reason to seek a pardon.
Meeting the requirements for good citizenship comes with its own set of criteria that often involves written testimonies from others. Another thing you need to make sure you do is to complete your pardon request on time. A governor only has a certain period of time to grant your pardon before the possibility of re-election or leaving the office.
Collect and submit all the information the pardon requires from you. Missing a key piece of information may be enough to lead to a denial of your request.
What you should know is that pardons may only grant you some rights, but other rights may not be fully restored. This all depends on the type of crime you committed.