A pardon from the governor of Illinois can change your life – it can literally give you a fresh start. But how do you apply for a pardon in Illinois, and what are the chances it will be approved?
How to Get a Pardon from the Governor of Illinois
Pardons aren’t incredibly common, but they are granted to some people. A pardon can clear your criminal record after you’ve been convicted of a crime; without a pardon, a criminal conviction will stay there forever.
If you’ve been convicted of a crime, the governor has authority from the Constitution to pardon you. Most people choose to work with a Chicago pardon lawyer to undertake the process, because it’s not always easy (and it can take a substantial amount of time).
The Pardon Application Process
You’ll need to gather a substantial amount of information, including your arrest records, any sentencing paperwork you have, and put together clear, valid reasons that explain why you deserve a pardon.
Your lawyer will submit a petition to the Illinois Prisoner Review Board on your behalf; you then have the right to request a hearing. Your attorney can come with you to the hearing and help you present your case. He’ll also provide moral support so that you can walk in with confidence – sometimes knowing that somebody has your back helps quite a bit.
Once you’ve had your hearing with the Illinois Prisoner Review Board, they'll put their heads together and make a recommendation to the governor. From there, you have to wait for the governor to make a final decision. There’s no law that requires the governor to make a decision within a certain time frame, so you could be waiting for months or years.
What to Do if Your Pardon is Denied
Illinois law allows you to request a pardon a year after your previous request was denied. You can ask as many times as you want, and if one governor denies it repeatedly, there’s nothing to say that the next one who takes office will follow suit.Matt Fakhoury
, Chicago expungement lawyer