At Collins & Associates, we are often contacted by folks who have some criminal history in their distant past and are trying to clean it up. Sometimes a long-ago mistake can lead to consequences like being denied employment opportunities or loans. Because there is some confusion out there about pardons and expungements, we hope this post can help explain things:
An expungement wipes clean all records of your arrest, both at the police and court levels. In order to qualify for an expungement, the case must have ended in your favor, for example by dismissal of the charges or a not guilty verdict at trial. Most expungements are mandatory upon application. A few charges in our criminal code result in discretionary expungements. Those involve a much more detailed application and possibly a court hearing.
A pardon is a way to wipe out an actual conviction. A pardon is granted by the governor, but only after a very complex application process and a hearing before the Board of Pardons. At the hearing, the State may oppose the pardon application, then it will be up to the Board to decide whether to recommend to the governor that the application be granted or denied. If the pardon is granted, then the applicant is free to seek an expungement of the actual arrest. A pardon takes a long time, often up to a year, so the sooner you start the process, the better.
At Collins & Associates, we are experienced in the handling of expungement and pardon matters. Please contact us so we can assist you with the process.