So you’ve been convicted of a crime and served your time – what now? You may find that even though you’ve done the time for your crime, the aftereffects are still pretty strong.
You may not be able to own a firearm, seek better employment opportunities, or even rent a home for your family – all because of your conviction. There is one avenue you may not have thought of, though, that could restore your rights: Clemency from the governor of Colorado.
It’s an option that some people have found success in, so don’t count it out! Here’s what a governor’s pardon is and how you can apply for one to help you get your life back on track.
What is the Governor’s Clemency?
The pardon a governor has the authority to grant is also referred to as clemency. In Colorado, it’s the public forgiveness of a crime after you’ve served your sentence for it.
Remember, the governor has a lot of power in the state, including the power to forgive crimes (with the exception of treason). It can be used to help restore lost rights that resulted from your criminal conviction.
How Will a Colorado Governor’s Pardon Benefit You?
For many people convicted of felonies, they’re released from prison with a criminal record and a few unexpected results of having one. A criminal record can have a big impact on your life, but a pardon from the governor has the potential to:
- Restore the right to own a firearm
- Help you to seek better opportunities in employment
- Make you eligible for certain professional licensures
- Help you defend against deportation if you’re an immigrant
- Help you get public benefits
- Help in getting approved for school scholarships
- Help you to find better housing opportunities
In the state of Colorado, many rights are automatically restored after you are released from prison, such as the right to vote or be called for jury duty.
That said, some people may want a pardon in order to be recognized as having rehabilitated from past issues and actions.
Who Can Apply for Colorado Clemency?
Clemency isn’t something that everyone is eligible for, but most previous offenders are. The only exceptions to clemency are those that have been convicted or treason or who have been impeached.
Pardons are only available for those who have been convicted of a crime and served their sentence. In general, you must wait 10 years after the sentence has been completed to apply for clemency.
It must be demonstrated that the person applying for the pardon has good character and displayed good conduct during their sentence. If the judge or district attorney can make statements on behalf of the person seeking the pardon, that will help as well.
In order to be approved for clemency by the governor, you must first be recommended by the Executive Clemency Advisory Board to the governor.
How Does a Coloradoan Apply for Clemency?
You must first complete the Executive Clemency Application to be considered for a pardon. There is no fee, you simply need to fill out all the information for the application and submit all required documents asked for on it. Then you submit them to the Advisory Board.
Does a Pardon Expunge or Seal a Criminal Record?
Clemency granted by the governor will not expunge or seal a criminal record. However, being able to show potential employers or landlords a governor’s pardon may help them to overlook your record. If you’re eligible for clemency in Colorado, then you should try to have the rights you’ve lost restored.
About the Author:
Andrew Bryant is a well-respected Colorado Springs criminal attorney who has been practicing in the area for years. A Colorado native, he returned to the home he loves after graduating from the University of Kentucky College of Law. Now, he uses the knowledge he gained as an El Paso County District Attorney to fight tirelessly for his clients’ rights. He is AV-Preeminent rated, has been recognized for his work by The National Trial Lawyers, and has been named to Best of the Springs lists by The Gazette for years.