Recently, I have been discussing alternatives to a pardon on this website. I’ve already touched upon the commutation of a sentence and an expungement. But on this page, I want to discuss a term that you are probably familiar with – clemency. This is another alternative to a pardon that you should be aware of if you are considering applying for a pardon. Clemency might be the better option for you. Read on to learn about clemency and how it differs from a pardon.
What Is Clemency?
Clemency is a general term used for the act of reducing the penalties of a crime, similar to a commutation. Also, pardons are actually considered a form of clemency. If you receive a pardon, you are always receiving clemency, but if you receive clemency, you are not always receiving a pardon. Forms include:
- A commutation of the sentence.
- A pardon.
- A reprieve.
When clemency occurs, the person who receives it does not have his or her conviction overturned, or even erased. Instead, if you receive a form of clemency, your criminal record will be forgiven or your penalties will be reduced. An expungement can succeed in sealing a criminal record or getting it erased.
Clemency can be awarded by the President of the United States, or by the state. If you are being awarded state clemency, it will come from a judge, a Board of Pardons, or a similar entity.
Clemency vs. Pardon
As I’ve already stated, a pardon is a form of clemency. However, if you receive clemency, you aren’t always getting a pardon. Instead, you might get a reprieve, which will temporarily stay your sentence, or a commutation of sentence, in which case, your original felony sentence will be reduced. This will get you out of prison sooner. Regardless, the most common form of clemency is a pardon.
A pardon will essentially delete your criminal record if it is granted. This means that you can honestly tell people that you do not have a criminal past. You won’t have to tell potential employers that you have been convicted of a crime. You also won’t have to inform colleges, banks, lenders, or people in your personal life that you were convicted of a crime. As you might imagine, having your criminal record erased can open many doors for you and lead to a brighter future.
Getting Clemency or a Pardon
In order to explore all of the clemency options, you should do some research on each. Check out the other pages on this website to learn more. I can assist you in this process. I am happy to schedule a free consultation in which we can discuss your situation, your clemency options, and which one will be best for you. Once you determine if you want to apply for clemency or a pardon, I can help you with the paperwork and forms involved. If you need to participate in a pardon hearing, I can assist in this process as well. Please contact me for more information or to set up your free consultation today!