What Is a Pardon?

• A pardon is the forgiveness of a crime that allows a person to clear his or her criminal record. The Governor of Illinois is vested by the State Constitution with the power to pardon.
• Procedures for applying for pardons in the State of Illinois are governed by 730 ILCS 5/3-3-13 and Illinois Administrative Code section 1610.180.
• The term “clemency” is sometimes used to describe pardon.
• Technically speaking, a full pardon removes the penalties and disabilities resulting from a conviction and restores all civil rights.

What Are the Different Types of Pardons?

• An Absolute Pardon forgives all of the consequences of the conviction.
• A Partial Pardon forgives some, but not all, of the consequences of the conviction.
• A Commutation is where the Governor reduces the prison sentence to a shorter time.
• A Reprieve is the delaying of a sentence for a period of time. Reprieve usually refers to postponement of a death sentence.

Who Qualifies for a Pardon?

• If you have been convicted of a felony or certain misdemeanors, a pardon is your only option for removing the conviction from your record.
• If you received felony probation, you are still considered a convicted felon just as if you had gone to prison. You cannot expunge or seal felony probation. Some first time Class 4 felony drug offenses can be expunged and sealed, but these are exceptions and not the rule.
• All other felonies will remain on your record and can only be removed with a Governor’s pardon.

How Do I apply for a Pardon in Illinois?

• The process is started by submitting a Petition for Clemency with the Illinois Prisoner Review Board.
• This petition must include all of the information about your case and provide the reasons why you should be granted a pardon by the Governor.
• After you submit your petition to the Illinois Prisoner Review Board, you have the right to request a hearing. This is your opportunity to look at the members of the Board and explain to them why you should be granted a pardon.
• After your hearing, the Board will make a confidential recommendation to the Governor on whether you should be granted a pardon. At this point you must wait the Governor to either approve or grant your petition. The law does not require that the Governor make any decision within any period of time.
• If the Governor denies your pardon petition, you can file another petition one year after the denial. There is nothing in the law that prevents you from requesting a pardon as many times as you want.
• If the Governor grants your pardon, you can have your record expunged, which keeps the public from finding the conviction on your record. That will make it possible to get a job, go to school, and move on with your life without having the prior conviction hold you back.

To get more information about Pardons from the Governor in the State of Illinois, call the Giacoletto Law Firm at 618-346-8841 or toll free at 888-346-8841 to speak today with an experienced Illinois attorney centrally located in Collinsville.


Steve Giacoletto
Collinsville Personal Injury Attorney
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