A pardon is a decision by either an executive, such as the governor of the state, or an independent board, which allows a person to be relieved from a criminal conviction. This page will discuss the process of receiving a pardon for one’s convictions in Alabama.
The Pardon Process
To receive a pardon, eligible persons must apply for a pardon through the Alabama Bureau of Pardons and Paroles, a board of three members appointed by the governor.
You are eligible if you meet one of the following criteria:
- You have completed your sentence.
- You have successfully completed at least three years of parole on the conviction for which you seek a pardon
Upon receipt of your application, the Board will conduct an investigation and review of a number of factors, including your housing status, job status, updated criminal and arrest records, references, and more, subject to the discretion of the board.
Applicants are expected to comply fully with the Board’s requests and inquiries into your social and criminal history, and failure to comply may result in the closure of your application and a one year bar on re-application for pardon. There is no definitive timeline on the investigative process and estimates are not provided, but they are impacted by the circumstances of each case.
Once an investigation is completed, the case will be docketed for a hearing by the Board and victims will be notified. You are not required to attend your pardon hearing, but the Board encourages applicants to attend in order to be able to answer questions. If you are not able to attend, the Board encourages you to supply written statements for their review. This should include an explanation of your crimes, how you have changed since your conviction, what you are doing now, why you should be pardoned, and any positive influences you have for the Board to consider. Others may also submit a statement or testify on your behalf.
What Happens When a Pardon is Granted or Denied?
If your pardon is denied, you may reapply for a pardon after two years have passed unless stated otherwise by the Board.
If your pardon is granted, it will either be a full pardon or a pardon with exceptions. A full pardon will reinstate a person’s full civil and political rights; a pardon with exceptions may limit or deny the reinstatement of these rights.
The Board retains the discretion to restrict some of your rights, even if your pardon is granted, such as restricting your ability to own a firearm. Additionally, if your conviction includes murder charges or charges for crimes that are sexual in nature, you are not eligible for the restoration of voting rights, even if your pardon is granted.
How Do I Apply?
To apply for a pardon, the Alabama Bureau of Pardons and Parole requires applicants to fill out two forms: a Pardon Application and a liability and information waiver. These should be submitted via traditional mail to ATTN: Pardons Unit or via e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. You should also include the following information in your application.
- The name used on your conviction records.
- Your current legal name.
- Your race and sex.
- Your date of birth.
- Your social security number.
- Your Alabama Prison Number, if applicable.
- Your mailing and physical address (both, if they are different).
- Your work, home, and cell phone numbers.
- A complete list of your convictions, including the county and year.
- A statement of whether your convictions are state or federal convictions.
There is no fee to fill out this application, but you should ensure that you do not have any outstanding fees owed to any Alabama court before you apply.
If you need help with a pardon, contact our office for assistance.