AL Pardons

A common question I get is whether a registered citizen ("sex offender") can obtain a pardon or get some form of relief from the registry. The answer is YES! It won't be easy, however. This page helps explain the pardon process in Alabama and how you can begin your quest for relief from the registry.

Pardons v. Expungements

First off, understand there is a difference between a PARDON and an EXPUNGEMENT. An expungement seals a conviction in your criminal record (thus it does not appear on criminal databases, like it was never there). Alabama does NOT have an expungement process, and even if it did, like every other state, sex offenders cannot expunge their sex crime convictions. A pardon is a symbolic "forgiveness" and restoration of legal rights taken away from your conviction.

NOTE: There are times errors in your criminal record interferes with your bid for a pardon. CLICK HERE for information on how to clear errors in your record.

Partial v. Full Pardons

I have a "partial pardon." Some rights were restored to me-- in my case, restoration of voting rights. In short, you CAN obtain a full pardon, though the chances of getting one is slim. Something the pardon board FAQ failed to mention is you MUST have paid off your obligation to the state (all your fines, attorney fees, etc). If you have any debt to the state, you cannot obtain a FULL pardon, but at best a partial pardon (that is why I only have a partial pardon). Despite what the Pardon site claims, you CAN get voting rights restored as a sex offender. Either that or I'm special.

Out of State Offenders

If your sex crime conviction is in another state, you have to obtain the pardon through your state of conviction. If you were convicted in Alabama and live in Ohio, you obtain a pardon through Alabama. If you were convicted in Ohio and reside in Alabama, you obtain your pardon in Alabama. If your case is Federal, then you must obtain a Presidential Pardon. CLICK HERE to read more on obtaining a Presidential/ Federal Pardon, as the rules are different that the process for Alabama. Sadly, Obama has granted very few pardons. Going by the Pardon board FAQ, you can still find relief from federal convictions through the state, though the state pardon is invalid outside Alabama.

FAQ

The following Q&A was obtained from the AL Parole and Pardon Board website:


Q: When is a person eligible to apply for a pardon with restoration of civil and political rights in Alabama?
A: Upon the completion of a sentence or after a person has completed 3 consecutive years of successful Alabama parole. Persons still under sentence and not having completed 3 years of successful parole may apply for a pardon, but it must be based on innocence and requires the approval of the sentencing court or prosecuting District Attorney. An individual placed on supervised or unsupervised probation may apply for a pardon after completion of their probationary period.

Q: How do I apply for a pardon?
A: A request for a pardon can be made by writing the Board of Pardons and Paroles at P O Box 302405, Montgomery AL 36130-2405. The request should include all of the following information:

  1. Name under which convicted
  2. True Name
  3. Sex and race
  4. Date of birth
  5. Social Security Number
  6. AIS# (Alabama Prison number), if you have one
  7. Current physical address including county
  8. Current mailing address, if different
  9. Indicate if the conviction was a State or Federal Conviction
  10. Home telephone number
  11. Work telephone number, if you have one
  12.  Complete list of charges, county(s) of conviction and year(s) of conviction.


NOTE: Each jurisdiction has a parole/ pardon board representative. You can obtain a form through many of these offices to fill out. In addition, you need at least three solid references to help testify to your character. A priest/ preacher, a pillar of the community, or some person of status is VERY useful. The better the reference, the better your chances. It doesn't hurt to have as many positive references swamp the pardon board with letters right before your pardon hearing. At the actual pardon hearing, you can only have three people with you. Have your best references with you if possible.

Q: What is involved in the pardon process?
A: Once a request is received, it will be assigned to a probation officer for the completion of an investigation. The investigation will include current information on the applicant's home situation, job status, and an updated criminal arrest record, written references and other information as warranted. Once the investigation is complete, a hearing will be set before the Parole Board. Required notification will be sent to the victim, certain officials in the jurisdiction of the conviction, and the applicant. Once all required parties are notified, a hearing will be held before the Parole Board and a decision will be made to grant or deny the pardon request.

Q: Are records of conviction destroyed in cases where a pardon is granted with a restoration of civil and political rights?
A: No. Alabama does not expunge records. The arrest and conviction will continue to show up when a criminal history is run. It is important to keep a copy of your pardon in case it is ever requested.

Q: If the Parole Board grants a pardon, does that restore all of my rights?
A: Not necessarily. The Board may grant a full pardon, which restores all rights, or they may grant a pardon with restrictions. The Board may restrict the right to possess a firearm and/or they may require that a person convicted of a sex offense continue to comply with all sex offender restrictions. They may also not relieve an offender of the consequences of the habitual offender act. The Board has the discretion to place other restrictions as deemed appropriate.

Q: Does Alabama accept applications for pardons with restoration of civil and political rights for individuals with a federal conviction?
A: Yes, if the sentence is complete. A pardon with restoration of civil and political rights may be granted to applicants who reside in Alabama. If the applicant resides in another state, we recommend that they apply in the state of residence. A pardon from Alabama on a federal case is only good in Alabama.

Q: Does the Board of Pardons and Paroles pardon misdemeanor convictions?
A: Yes, if the conviction is considered a crime of moral turpitude under the Alabama Law. Example of crimes of moral turpitude are: theft, attempted theft, receiving stolen property, bad checks, domestic violence, fraud, desertion from the military and attempting to defraud.

Q: How likely is it that a person would receive a full pardon?
A: Very Unlikely. The Parole Board rarely restores gun rights, relieves a person of the consequences of complying with the Sex Offender Notification Law or relieves an offender of the consequences resulting from a conviction under the Habitual Offender Act.  The Board restores these rights in less than 2% of cases considered.

Here is the website for the Alabama Department of Pardons and Parole:

http://www.pardons.state.al.us/

--Derek W. Logue

22 comments:

  1. My cousin just got a full pardon and relief from registration in Alabama. He had a Rape 2nd (statutory) from 1999. She was 15 and it was consensual. He received a full pardon and has been taken off the local site and in the process of being taken off the State site.

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    1. Joey, soo your cousin can pass a Background check Now

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  2. That is great news :)

    He did have a more ideal case than some of my other readers may have, but that is encouraging nonetheless.

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  3. Correction to my previous comment. His gun rights were withheld. Everything else restored, including relief from registration.

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  4. Could you get sexual abuse 11 charge pardoned from your record?

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  5. Yes, you can, though the more serious the charge, the less likely you can obtain a pardon. Still, a 2% chance is better than a 0% chance.

    As stated in the guide, having a clean post-release record helps.

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  6. Joey, also how old was your cousin @ the time of his conviction.

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    1. Indeed a valid question. The current relief clause is written specifically for those no more than 4 years older than the victim.

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    2. Section 15-20A-24

      was changed in 2015. Offenders who meet certain qualifications​ can be removed from the registry.

      The new age limit is: 5 years between victim and offender.

      Check the laws, some of you may have a chance to be removed from this witch hunt list.

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  7. What is the likelihood of a misdemeanor sex offense being pardoned versus felony? Mine was misdemeanor and I had 2 years probation which I am 1 and a half years removed from. Thanks

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    1. A number of factors may increase the likelihood of a pardon-- seriousness of offense, the amount of time since that conviction without having any other arrests, having all your fines and taxes paid up, and having pillars of the community testifying on your behalf.

      I'd say your chances are higher with a misdemeanor but keep in mind those are still very low rates regardless. As stated in the article, the pardon board gives an SO pardon average of about 2%.

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  8. My fiance was recently charged and convicted with transmitting of obscene materials. He got unknowingly got involved in an undercover sting operation on Craiglist where a detective posed as a minor. He received a suspended prison sentence that would have been 5 years but had to register and do 3 years probation. The judge highly recommended that after probation he file for an appeal because she feels that the punishment was too severe for the circumstance as well as this was his first offense but her hands were tied since the county did have jurisdiction. My question is, how likely is that the he can receive a full pardon? Any wisdom or guidance is greatly appreciated.

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    1. Well, the overall chances of getting a pardon, according to the Pardon and Parole Board site, is 2%, or 1 in 50. Obviously, having a favorable case increases those odds, as well as having pillars of the community to speak on your behalf. It is also important that you fulfill all obligations to he state, including fines and court costs. You can apply two years after you are off supervision, and if you are denied, you can reapply every two years.

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  9. He is on unsupervised probation so would he still have to wait or can he go ahead and start the appeal process?

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    1. Q: When is a person eligible to apply for a pardon with restoration of civil and political rights in Alabama?
      A: Upon the completion of a sentence or after a person has completed 3 consecutive years of successful Alabama parole. Persons still under sentence and not having completed 3 years of successful parole may apply for a pardon, but it must be based on innocence and requires the approval of the sentencing court or prosecuting District Attorney. An individual placed on supervised or unsupervised probation may apply for a pardon after completion of their probationary period.

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  10. So I'm guessing that once he completes probation then he can apply for an appeal because he is not on parole?

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    1. Yes. Or, if he has completed three years of "successful" parole.

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  11. I was convicted of one count of indecent exposure. I was in my car exposed and someone saw me and reported me. I am going to try and apply for a pardon and I hope I get it. My crime was not violent...hell I never even spoke a single word to the victim...they couldn't even point me out in court...anyway..im married with 3 sons..And I just want the best for them and for my family and I feel like registering is going to prevent my family from moving forward. I'm hoping that since it is a non-violent crime maybe my rate for a pardon would be greater

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    1. Sending prayers your way sir. My fiance committed a non-violent crime as well and is currently listed as a sex offender. We plan on appealing in May of 2019 after his probation ends. I will say that it is very hard at times but for the most part we live as normally as we can. We have a small daughter and we are hoping his appeal will go through so she can live a normal life as she grows up. I hope the best for you and your family.

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  12. Have you heard of any successful pardons for people convicted of non violent sexual offense. like say indecent exposure or public indeceny

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    1. I know of one guy who got a pardon for having sex with a teenager so I imagine you can get a pardon a but easier.

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  13. Can a conviction for open container where I just pled guilty and paid fine be pardoned? I didn't fully understand the effects. I actually thought it would go on my driving record. I was just turned down for a job at Popeyes on a military base because I didn't pass the background check. I was not drinking nor did the officer suspect me of drinking. No field sobriety test or anything. I am only 22 now I am ruined for the rest of my life cause I didn't seek legal advice and had no idea that a friend leaving a half drank cooler would follow me forever. I am told now, team I know too late, that had I asked for trial it's more likely been found innocent or had charges dropped. I was stopped because I had a paper tag on my car which wasn't expired or anything. The officer said that she was checking because a lot of people fail to register. So because the was no violation of reason for the stop it could have been thrown out. I am so distraught. My life is ruined. I will never get a good job. I am a college student. I have a high GPA. I'm so hurt. Please give any advice. I called a lawyer today he said it would be 3500 for him to take the case and it could take about 3 years. I graduate next but if I have to pay that I will but 3 years!!!!

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