If you have been convicted of a federal crime, and you want to get a pardon, you should seek a presidential pardon. The President of the United States has the power to grant or deny clemency, including pardons, commutations of sentence, remissions, and reprieves. If you think that you fall into this category and you want to apply for a presidential pardon, here are some steps that you need to follow when filling out your application.
Before you spend time and money on the application process, you should make sure that you are eligible for a presidential pardon. To file a petition for a presidential pardon, you must wait at least five years after you are convicted of a federal crime. If you are on parole, probation, or supervised release, you should not file a petition for a presidential pardon.
If you would like clemency from the President, you will have to file a formal petition with the Department of Justice. Address this petition to the President and submit it to:
Department of Justice
Washington, D.C. 20530
All petitions should be sent to the Pardon Attorney, except for petitions for military related offenses. These petitions can be sent to the Secretary of the Military Department with jurisdiction over your court-martialed trial (more information below).
The Attorney General provides information regarding what each application for a presidential pardon should contain. In general, you should complete the pardon form and have it notarized before you send it for consideration. If you need to provide additional documentation to answer any questions on this form, you may attach these documents to the petition. In addition to this form, you should provide at least three character references to prove how you have changed since the time of your conviction. In this way, the application itself for a presidential pardon is similar to the pardon at the state level.
One important question on the pardon form that you need to answer is the specific reason why you are seeking a pardon. You should explain how getting a pardon will help you do something specific, such as get a job, go to school, join a particular organization, etc.
Pardon For Military Offense
Getting a pardon for a military offense is a little different than getting a regular presidential pardon. In order to apply for a presidential pardon of a military offense, you need to send your application to the appropriate branch of the military:
U.S. Air Force:
Secretary of the Air Force
1500 W. Perimeter Road,
Joint Base Andrews Naval Air Facility, MD 20762
Secretary of the Army
Department of the Army
Washington, DC 20310
U.S. Navy/Marine Corps:
Office of the Judge Advocate General
Criminal Law Division (Code 20)
1254 Charles Morris Street S. E. ,
Washington Navy Yard, D.C. 20374
It is important to keep in mind that military discharged are not changed by a pardon. Upgrades or changes to military discharges will only be granted by the military authorities. You can apply for a military discharge review at one of these addresses:
U.S. Air Force:
Air Force Review Boards Agency
550C Street West
Randolph Air Force Base, Texas 78150-4742
Army Review Boards Agency
1901 South Bell Street
Arlington, Virginia 22202-4508
U.S. Navy/U.S. Marine Corps:
Secretary of the Navy
Naval Council of Personnel Records
702 Kennon Street, SE
Washington Navy Yard, DC 20374-5023
For more information on presidential pardons, please contact me here.