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California Certificates of Rehabilitation and Governor’s Pardons

California Certificates of Rehabilitation and Governor's Pardons


Have you been convicted of a felony or a misdemeanor sex crime in Ventura or Los Angeles County?

If so, our Santa Clarita and Ventura County criminal defense attorneys may be able to help you restore your rights. With a California Certificate of Rehabilitation and/or a California governor's pardon you may be able to regain rights such as:


the right to own a gun, and

relief from the obligation to register as a sex offender.


They may also enhance your possibility of employment.

To help you understand how to restore your rights after a criminal conviction, Santa Clarita and Ventura County criminal defense attorney Daniel Kann explains the following, below:

What is a California Certificate of Rehabilitation?
What is a California governor's pardon?
Differences between a Certificate of Rehabilitation and a governor's pardon
Relief from sex offender registration
Restoring gun rights with a California governor's pardon
Who is eligible for a California Certificate of Rehabilitation?
How do I persuade the court that I have been rehabilitated?
Who is eligible to apply for a California gubernatorial pardon?

What is a California Certificate of Rehabilitation?

A Certificate of Rehabilitation is a court order declaring that you have been rehabilitated after conviction of a crime. It also serves as an automation application for a California governor's pardon and a recommendation that such pardon be granted.
A Certificate of Rehabilitation is not the same as a California expungement. It will not seal or erase your criminal record.
What is a California governor's pardon?

A California gubernatorial pardon restores additional rights lost as the result of a criminal conviction. It is granted solely to those who have demonstrated exemplary behavior for a significant period of time following completion of a criminal sentence or probation.

Those who are not eligible for a Certificate of Rehabilitation may be able to apply directly to the governor for a pardon (see below).

Differences between a Certificate of Rehabilitation and a governor's pardon
A California Certificate of Rehabilitation:

Does
Relieve some sex offenders of further duty to register.

Allow California state board licensing consideration.

Enhance employment possibilities.

Serve as an automatic application for a Governor's pardon.


Does NOT
Expunge conviction or seal criminal record.

Prevent offense from counting as a prior conviction if you are later convicted of a new offense.

Allow you to answer on job applications that you have no record of conviction.

Restore gun rights.

A California governor's pardon:

Does

Allow you to serve on a jury.

Possibly restore gun rights.

Allow consideration as county probation officer or state parole agent.

Possibly remove requirement to register as a sex offender.

Does NOT

Seal or erase the record of conviction.

Prevent offense from counting as a prior conviction if you are later convicted of a new offense.

Allow you to answer on employment applications that you have no record of conviction.

Restore gun rights.

Pardon convictions from another state or federal convictions.

Necessarily prevent deportation.

Relief from sex offender registration

Under California Penal Code Section 290.5, a Certificate of Rehabilitation relieves many offenders of the requirement to register as a sex offender.

A California Certificate of Rehabilitation will not relieve you from sex offender registration if your conviction was for certain crimes against minors, including:

sodomy with a child (Penal Code 286 (c)),
lewd acts with a child who is under 15 and at least 10 years younger than you (Penal Code 288(c)),
continuous sexual abuse of a child (Penal Code 288.5),
sexual penetration of a child who is under 14 and at least 10 years younger than you (Penal Code 289(j)), or
felony statutory rape of a minor under 16 (Penal Code 261.5(d)).

If you were convicted of one of these offenses, the only way to be relieved of the requirement to register as a sex offender is with a California governor's pardon (see below). However, not all governor's pardons do this. The pardon must be either:
“full and unconditional,” or
specify that you are relieved of the obligation to register as a sex offender.


Restoring gun rights with a California governor's pardon
A California governor's pardon can restore your gun rights. However, not all pardons do this. The pardon must specify that it is:
“full and unconditional,” or
that you are entitled to own or possess a gun.
You are not entitled to restoration of your gun rights -- even with a governor's pardon -- if your conviction was for a felony involving the use of a dangerous weapon.

Who is eligible for a California Certificate of Rehabilitation?
A California Certificate of Rehabilitation is available for people convicted of felonies and certain misdemeanor sex crimes. You may petition the court for a California Certificate of Rehabilitation (California Penal Code 4852.01) if:

for a felony conviction:

you were convicted of a felony and sentenced to California state prison or county jail,

you were released from California custody,  probation, or  parole and have remained out of prison and/or jail since your release,

you can prove you have been a California resident for at least five years immediately before filing your petition (three years if you were placed on parole), AND

you can satisfy the court that you have been rehabilitated since your release from custody;
OR

for a sex crime:
you were convicted of a sex offense under California Penal Code 290 (which includes rape and other forced sexual acts, sexual battery, and indecent exposure) either as:

a misdemeanor, or
a felony for which you received felony probation,

you had that conviction expunged under California Penal Code 1203.4 PC,

you have been released from custody,

have remained out of prison and/or jail since your release,

you are not on probation for any other felony,

you can prove you have been a resident of California for at least five years immediately before filing your petition, AND

you satisfy the court that you have been rehabilitated since your release.

You are not eligible for a California Certificate of Rehabilitation if:

you are serving a mandatory life parole,

you were committed under a death sentence,

you were committed of a sex offense with a minor, as set forth above, or

you are in the military.

You may file for a Certificate of Rehabilitation and pardon after a period of:

five years of residence in California, plus

an additional waiting period of two-four years, depending on your crime.
Petitions for a Certificate of Rehabilitation must be filed in the county where you reside.
If you reside in Santa Clarita, for instance, you must file your petition with the Los Angeles County Superior Court.
People residing in Ventura will file their petitions with the Ventura County Superior Court.

How do I persuade the court that I have been rehabilitated?
You will need to provide the court with:
letters of recommendation and support,
proof of training, schooling, employment, counseling, attended since your release, and
any other documentation you believe would establish that you have been an upstanding citizen.
Who is eligible to apply for a California gubernatorial pardon?
Anyone who receives a California Certificate of Rehabilitation is automatically eligible for (and deemed to have applied for) a California governor's pardon.
You may apply directly to the Governor for a pardon if:
you were convicted of a crime in California, but now reside outside the state,
you were convicted of a California felony sexual offense that is ineligible for reduction to a misdemeanor, or
you were convicted of a misdemeanor sex crime for which a Certificate of Rehabilitation is not available.

Absent exceptional circumstances (such as factual innocence), your application for a pardon will not be considered unless:

you have been discharged from probation or parole for at least 10 years, and
you have engaged in no further criminal activity during that period.

The governor has complete discretion in deciding whether to grant a pardon. However, if you have two (2) or more felony convictions, a pardon also requires the recommendation of a majority of the justices of the California Supreme Court. The governor is not obligated to seek the court's recommendation.
Only California crimes may be pardoned by California's governor. If you were convicted in another state, you must apply for a pardon in that state. If you were convicted of a felony under federal law, you must apply for a presidential pardon. Presidential pardons are rarely granted.

Daniel E. Kann is a veteran Santa Clarita trial lawyer who will fight to restore your rights. For more information on California Certificates of rehabilitation and gubernatorial pardons, contact the Law Offices of Daniel E. Kann today for a free and confidential consultation.

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