Certificate of Rehabilitation / Application for Governor’s Pardon
What is a Certificate of Rehabilitation?
In California, a certificate of rehabilitation, pursuant to Penal Code 4852.01 and 4852.21 is a judicial order in which a court rewards an individual who has shown exemplary behavior by declaring them judicially rehabilitated. The application is filed in the Superior Court and a hearing will be scheduled and held. The petitioner must notify the District Attorney’s office in all counties in which petitioner was convicted of an offense of the hearing date as well as provide all documentation intended to be used by the petitioner. The District Attorney’s office usually conduct their own investigation by talking with witnesses, victim of the offense in which petitioner was convicted, and obtain documentation relating to petitioners conduct while incarcerated. At the hearing, the petitioner will present their evidence of rehabilitation and the prosecuting agency will almost always oppose it. Afterwards, the judge will make their decision on whether to grant to deny the petition.
Am I Eligible for a Certificate of Rehabilitation?
If you were convicted of a felony or a misdemeanor sex offense defined under Penal Code 290 and were not sent to state prison then you may be eligible if:
- You expunged your record pursuant to Penal Code 1203.4
- You have lived in the state of California for the last five years prior to filing
- You are not on probation / parole for any offense
- There are no pending cases against you currently
- You have not been incarcerated in any criminal institution after your release
If you were convicted of a felony and were incarcerated in state prison then you may be eligible if:
- You were released from custody / paroled
- You have lived in the state of California for at least five years prior to filing
- You have not been incarcerated in a criminal institution after your release
Certificate of Rehabilitation Benefits
- A judicial order declaring you fully rehabilitated
- Relieves you from having to register as a sex offender
- Your conviction cannot deny you state or business licensing
- May be transmitted automatically as an application for governor’s pardon
What Factors does a Judge Consider before Ruling on a Certificate of Rehabilitation?
There are a number of factors the court considers before granting a certificate of rehabilitation. Primary factors include:
- Your prior criminal history
- Length of time from your release from incarceration
- Reason for seeking a certificate
- Family life
- Conduct while in prison
- Employment / Schooling
- Volunteer work in the community
- Facts and severity of your convicted offense
What Should I Submit to the Court?
- Court minutes
- Character Letters
- Letter from Employer / School Teacher
- Proof of Employment of Schooling
- Letter from your former Parole or Probation Officer
- Awards & Certificates of Accomplishment
- Declaration stating why you want to be granted a Certificate of Rehabilitation
- Anything else you want the judge to see or know
If a Judge Grants a Certificate of Rehabilitation, How to I apply for a Governor’s Pardon?
If you were convicted of a felony and were incarcerated in the state prison and the judge grants your petition for a Certificate of Rehabilitation, no further action is required. Upon issuance, the clerk of the superior court transmits the certificate to governor it becomes a formal application for pardon. However, if you were convicted of a misdemeanor sex offense pursuant to Penal Code 290, then you submit an application for governor’s pardon.
Benefits of Obtaining a Pardon by the Governor
A governor’s pardon is considered to be a full restoration of an individual’s political and civil rights to a certain extent. Upon being granted a pardon, your right to vote is restored along with your right to own a firearm, unless your conviction involved the use of a dangerous weapon.
Individuals Not Eligible for a Certificate of Rehabilitation
Unfortunately, individuals convicted of a misdemeanor non-sex offense are not eligible to obtain a certificate of rehabilitation. Additionally, those were sentenced to death or life without the possibility of parole are ineligible for relief. Furthermore, certain sex offenses disqualify someone relief which are:
- P.C. 286(c)
- P.C. 288
- P.C. 288a(c)
- P.C. 288.5
- P.C. 289(j)
Contact Us to Schedule a Free Consultation
If you are seeking to obtain a certificate of rehabilitation or submit an application for governor’s pardon, then contact an experienced Orange County criminal defense attorney at the Law Offices of John D. Rogers for a free confidential consultation.