Clemency applications follow specific rules. These rules can vary by state and you will have a different experience when you are working with a federal pardon as well. Seeking an application for clemency is an important step that is needed to make sure that you can get your life back on track, keep your driver’s license, and even your job after a false conviction.
If you have been convicted of a crime in Florida that you believe that you should be pardoned for, you will want to get a clemency attorney to help you with your case right away. There is no time to waste if you have been convicted incorrectly of any crime and a lawyer will be able to help you get your name cleared and your criminal record corrected to show that you are not guilty of the crime.
If you are ready to learn more about when you can apply for clemency in Florida, read on!
What is Clemency?
Clemency is constitutionally offered to all citizens of the United States. This is the authorized process that provides the means by which convicted felons can be allowed to apply for relief from their punishment to seek restoration of their civil rights. The clemency act exists to help people to remedy convictions that are made in error by the US justice system.
There are many forms of clemency as well, so your application for clemency might be tailored to your unique situation. Not everyone will qualify for clemency but there are so many kinds of clemency that it can be possible to at least get some of the rights that you should not have lost returned to you. For those who were convicted of a crime in error, this can be the way to retain a job, keep a professional license and prevent issues with future job applications.
For those who have been convicted under conditions that impact the duration and severity of the sentence in question, there are options that allow some civil rights to be returned to them as well as some rights related to gun ownership and other forms of freedom. These are not always options that can be explored depending on the conviction, but if some part of the conviction was done in error, these rights might be returned to you after your application.
Your criminal lawyer will want to know all the details of your conviction and they will review your case to see if there is a chance for a pardon. You will find that your lawyer will be the best source for your questions about what you can apply for when seeking a pardon. Certain conditions must be met for you to seek an application for clemency and your lawyer will review your situation to see if you have met them.
What Are the Different Types of Clemency Available in Florida?
There are two main types of clemency that you can apply for at a state level. Clemency is meant to help you to get your criminal record corrected so that your plea is not guilty and so that the record shows that you were incorrectly convicted of the crime in question.
This is an exemption of a convicted individual from any remaining punishment or consequence that stems from a conviction. Pardons change the plea that is recorded for your conviction from guilty to not guilty. You will also sometimes be able to get portions of your record frozen and locked so that potential employers and other people who might want to look at your record cannot see all the details of your prior conviction history. Pardons do not expunge your record but they can make it easier to go back to your daily life without worrying about losing your job or licensing that you need to be able to work.
This is the reduction of your sentence but not a removal of the guilty plea related to your conviction. You will find that this can take many forms. You might have reduced time in your sentence, reduced time under parole, or reduced community service hours that are offered to you related to the commutation. You might also be allowed to get back your driver’s license, your professional license, and other items that were taken due to your conviction.
Other Kinds of Clemency
Within these two general headings of pardon are specifically limited pardons. These might allow you to be pardoned by still retaining ownership of a firearm. You might also be able to restore your civil rights, which will allow you to vote and apply for government or state positions. Some forms of pardon will restore your alien status under Florida law. This means that you will be able to remain in the state so long as you continue to follow the law in the future.
There are additional pardons that are specifically addressed at pardoning for misdemeanors as well as remissions of fines and forfeitures. Removing fines and things that have been forfeited can also help you to get your business or life on track after this kind of legal error has been made against your person. The list of pardon types are as follows:
- Full Pardon
- Pardon Without Firearm Authority
- Pardon for Misdemeanor
- Commutation of Sentence
- Remission of Fines and Forfeitures
- Specific authority to own, possess or use firearms
- Restoration of civil rights
Federal pardons require a five-year waiting period and they are dispensed by the president and not by the governor of your state. You will find that this is an entirely different process and you will wait far longer for a determination on this kind of clemency request.
How Does a Florida Individual Apply for Clemency?
The clemency process requires that you contact the authorities in the state that your conviction occurred in. You will need to be free of other felony convictions or financial obligations related to other crimes that you might have committed.
The application for clemency requires that you provide the documents that are needed to prove that your conviction was in error. The Office of Executive Clemency then reviews the pardon application that you have submitted to see if you will be eligible for your pardon to be granted.
Your attorney will know if there are certain waiting periods that must be fulfilled before you can apply for a pardon in some cases. The Governor and members of the Cabinet who sit on this clemency board will determine if you have qualified for a pardon or not. The Governor has the sole power to offer a pardon as well.
When an Individual Can Apply for Clemency in Florida?
In some cases, you can apply for clemency before you have been convicted of a crime. In other cases, you will have to fulfill certain obligations related to your conviction before you can apply for a pardon. Your lawyer will know what kind of waiting periods or actions have to be taken care of before you can apply for clemency.
In most cases, you will have to have completed your sentence which includes the terms of supervision. You will also be required not to have any pending criminal charges or any outstanding detainers and warrants against you before you can apply for clemency. You will also have to have paid all victim restitution unless you are applying for restoration of civil rights.
The Board of Clemency establishes these timeframes and they must be followed by applicants who wish to seek clemency. Your lawyer will know which kinds of clemency you can apply for any whether or not you have met the requirements to be able to apply. These requirements are not negotiable and you will need to make sure that you have met them all to get clemency of any kind.
What About an Expungement?
If you want to have your record expunged, you need to know that this is not the same thing as erasing the conviction from your record. There is no way that you can remove a conviction from your record but an expungement can secure the details of your conviction so that employers and other people looking into your background are not able to see them.
Expungement reverses the plea in your case and indicates that you were convicted falsely. The details of the conviction will also be locked so that they cannot be reviewed. While the conviction will still technically appear on your record, the notation that appears will show that the conviction was incorrect and that the plea has been reversed.
This process can make it much easier to secure licensing for some kind of job and can make it easier to get a driver’s license and apply for certain kinds of work. This is why most people seek an expungement. Having a clear record can help you be able to work in industries and fields that would not hire anyone who has been convicted of a crime.
This is a more extensive process and you will likely want the help of a lawyer to navigate this process correctly. This can be well-worth your efforts, but not every crime or applicant will qualify for this process.
Can I Check on My Clemency Status in Florida?
Your lawyer should know exactly what is going on with your clemency process at any time. If you are wanting to check on the process without talking to your lawyer, you will often be able to look at the application that you have submitted online. There is an online portal that will usually show the status of your application as it is being worked on.
This is not a quick process, and you should expect that your clemency will take six months to a year to be completed. You will find that the season and whether or not you have a lawyer will impact the speed with which your clemency case is resolved. Your clemency can be dependent on many factors and you will not be able to speed the process along as it moves through the steps of the determination process.
Your lawyer can appeal on your behalf for a more rapid decision, but this might also not alter the duration of the wait to get a final decision.
How Will I Know if I Have Been Granted Clemency?
You will get a certificate that states that you have been granted clemency. You will also be notified by your lawyer that you have been successful in your petition. You will need to keep a copy of the certificate on hand when you apply for jobs and licenses because there might be a need for you to produce this document to prove that you have completed the requirements and received clemency.
This certificate can also be printed online at any time. You will not always be asked to produce it, but if you are, you will want to have it on hand. This can speed up the process of proving that you do not have a conviction on your record that is correct.
Work With a Skilled Florida Lawyer For Your Clemency Application Process
You will want to work with a skilled lawyer if you are going to apply for clemency. A skilled lawyer will make sure that you get the application process done correctly so that your clemency request can be completed correctly. You will experience fewer delays when you work with a lawyer for all of the steps of your pardon process. Your lawyer will know what the correct steps are for the clemency process and they will help you to walk through the process.
Working with a skilled lawyer can help make sure that you get the civil rights back and the pardon that you deserve for your incorrect conviction. While your record cannot be cleared entirely of the conviction, it can be corrected to show that it was not a correct conviction. This can make all the difference in your future ability to hold jobs, seek jobs, and exercise your civil rights like voting.
Our firm is here to assist you with your clemency application. Give a call today at 866-505-4348 for your no-obligation consultation.