What Is a Presidential Pardon?

Posted on in Criminal Defense

Illionois defense attorney,  Illinois criminal defense lawyerWhen a person has been charged with a federal crime, there are many consequences they will face. These include jail time, high fines, and a permanent criminal record. However, some individuals may be able to get a pardon. Pardons are available at the state and federal level. When someone is granted a pardon from the state, they are given by the governor of that state. Under Article II, Section 2 of the U.S. Constitution, federal crimes can only be pardoned by the President of the United States. Below is some information about presidential pardons and how they work.

Requesting a Presidential Pardon

The President may decide on their own to pardon someone of a crime. Most often though, pardons are only granted once a person applies for one. Applications are submitted to the Department of Justice and the Department then reviews the application. No one can apply for a pardon until at least five years after they have been released from prison.

Deciding to Grant a Pardon

After someone has committed a federal crime, the President will take many factors into consideration when deciding whether or not to pardon them. These include the risk to the public, and if the courts made an error that they cannot fix. However, because the President has the sole power to determine if someone should be granted a pardon, many times people do not know why a person was granted a presidential pardon.

One thing is known. Pardons typically assume that a person is guilty of a crime, but that they have become rehabilitated. As such, if someone continues to claim innocence, they may not be granted a pardon.

Types of Pardons

Not all pardons are created equal. There are different types of pardons and each of them has a different effect. The four types of pardons include:

  • Full: These pardons absolve the person of the conviction and of any other consequences associated with the crime.
  • Partial: These pardons remove a portion, but not all, of the consequences of a crime.
  • Absolute: When a pardon is granted without any conditions placed on the individual receiving it, the pardon is considered absolute.
  • Conditional: Conditional pardons require that the individual being pardoned performs some act first, such as helping the Department of Justice solve a crime.

Most pardons, with the exception of a full pardon, do not erase a criminal conviction. This means that even when a pardon is granted, individuals will still have to tell future employers and others that they have a permanent criminal record.

Been Charged with a Federal Crime? Call Our Illinois Federal Criminal Defense Lawyer

If you have been charged with a federal crime, it is important to remember that you still have options. At the Law Offices of Hal M. Garfinkel, our skilled Illinois federal criminal defense lawyer can tell you what they are. He can also prepare a solid defense for your case and give you the best chance of beating the charges. When you need legal help, call us today at 312-629-0669 or contact us online to arrange a free consultation with our attorney.


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