Applying for a Pardon in California

Not all cases are eligible for expungement; however, there is another option that may be beneficial. Seeking a pardon in the state where your conviction occurred may the best solution to receive criminal record relief.

In order to apply for a Pardon, there are certain requirements that will need to be met, and one must also complete the application procedure. This information can be found in great detail at

Below are the eligibility requirements to receive a pardon and the steps to complete the application process.

To be eligible, one must:

  • Show absent extraordinary circumstances (such as newly discovered evidence to show your innocence)
  • Show law-abiding lifestyle for at least ten years following release from probation or parole (the Governor has discretion over the number of years)
  • Have a Felony conviction, although certain Misdemeanors are eligible.
  • Check eligibility. There is a free test available online.

There are two ways in which you can apply for a California Pardon. The first is to apply for a Certificate of Rehabilitation. If you are granted the Certificate of Rehabilitation, it means the Superior Court of California has found you rehabilitated and worthy of a pardon by the governor. The Certificate acts as a recommendation from the court to the Governor. However, the Certificate does not guarantee that you will receive a pardon. To find out if your case(s) are eligible for the Certificate of Rehabilitation visit or call for your free over-the-phone consultation at 877-573-7273.

The second method is to directly apply for the pardon:

  • You must apply through the direct application process, if you have been convicted of two or more felonies in California
  • Contact the Governor’s office directly to have the materials sent to you
  • Call in request to the Governor’s office at 916-445-1841
  • Fax request to Governor’s office at 916-445-4633
  • Write request to Governor’s office at:
    • Governor’s Office, State Capitol
      Attention: Legal Affairs Secretary
      Sacramento, CA 95814

Prepare supporting documents:

  • You must serve a signed Notice of Intention to Apply for Executive Clemency on the District Attorney in the county were you were convicted
  • Provide the Governor’s office proof in the form of an affidavit that you have served the District Attorney
  • Letters of reference
  • Personal statement
  • Direct Application must be signed by Notary before submitted to Governor’s office
  • Send Application Form and supporting documents to Governor’s office