Skip to main content

Is it possible to get a pardon from a aggravated felony?

San Francisco, CA |
Filed under: Green cards

Long story short, I committed fraud a few years ago. I went to federal court and was given 1 year probation so I got off easily. I know, in retrospect, it was beyond stupid and I fully regret it. I remind myself everyday about it. The price was huge though, I am going to be deported (who knows when) and I am going to lose my green card. I committed the felony before I was legal resident, I guess I got lucky then when it didn't show up on my background check. I've only had my green card for about 3 years. Back on topic though, I was wondering if it was possible to get a Presidential/Attorney General(?) Pardon so I'm able to stay? I know that I probably have a better chance getting hit by lightning but I'm desperate.

Attorney Answers 5


  1. You can apply after 5 years from the date of your sentencing.

    While the Pres has the power, it would be the equivalent of catching lightening in a bottle. Nothing in what you have summarized here will advance your cause. Here is the link to the rules: http://www.justice.gov/pardon/pardon_instructions.htm

    No legal advice here. READ THIS BEFORE you contact me! My responses to questions on Avvo are never intended as legal advice and must not be relied upon as if they were legal advice. I give legal advice ONLY in the course of a formal attorney-client relationship set forth in a written document executed by the client and by me or a member of my firm. Exchange of information through Avvo's Questions forum does not establish an attorney-client relationship with me. My law firm does not provide free consultations. Please do not call or write to me with a “few questions” that require me to analyze the specific facts of your history and your license application and prescribe for you how to get a State license. I can give advice, make recommendations and answer specific questions only after reviewing the evidence and documents applicable to a specific client and following a personal meeting in my office in which the relevant facts can be developed and analyzed. My law firm presently accepts cases involving State and federal licenses and permits; discipline against State and federal licenses; and disciplinary and academic challenges to universities, colleges, boarding schools, and private schools. We take cases of wrongful termination or employment discrimination only if the claims involve peace officers, universities or colleges.


  2. One more thing to consider...

    ICE (Immigration & Customs Enforcement) apparently hasn't figured out that you were convicted of an aggravated felony. If you file an application for a presidential pardon, the Attorney General will get involved in the background check, and may realize that you are a legal permanent resident (LPR, or green card holder).

    As you may know, an aggravated felony is the worst possible type of conviction for a non-citizen. It makes you subject to removal (deportation) and exclusion (being barred from reentering the USA). Even trying to come back into the USA after an aggravated felony conviction is a federal crime that could result in a prison sentence.

    In addition to looking at the criminal conviction, you should contact an experienced immigration attorney to see if you're eligible for relief from the immigration consequences. I'm moving this to the immigration category, in the hope you'll get some help on that side.

    Please understand that this is a general discussion of legal principles by a California lawyer and does not create an attorney/client relationship. It's impossible to give detailed, accurate advice based on a few sentences on a website (and you shouldn't provide too much specific information about your legal matter on a public forum like this site, anyway). You should always seek advice from an attorney licensed in your jurisdiction who can give you an informed opinion after reviewing all of the relevant information.


  3. I question the decision to post on a forum like this that you did not report the criminal conviction when you applied for the green card. Although you would need a presidential pardon, in my experience an immigration judge is also going to take into account that there seems to be a serious misrepresentation to USCIS as to your criminal history. You need to speak with an immigration attorney with expertise in serious criminal issues.

    The statement above is general in nature and does not constitute legal advice, as not all the facts are known. You should retain an attorney to review all the facts specific to your case in order to receive advise specific to your case. The statement above does not create an attorney/client relationship. Answers on Avvo can only be general ones, as specific answers would require knowledge of all the facts. As such, they may or may not apply to the question.


  4. The intersection between immigration and criminal law is one of the most complex and convoluted. I think it is imperative that you speak to an immigration attorney before seeking a pardon. Aside from the crime itself, not disclosing the crime on your application is misrepresentation which increases the difficulty of finding a fix for your problem.

    The information provided is given for general purposes only. It is not meant to provide any specific guidance or give any legal advice. It is recommended that you bring your specific situation to a licensed attorney for a more complete and thorough evaluation.


  5. Based upon your facts you indicate that you were apparently convicted of the crime prior to becoming a permanent resident and did not disclose your criminal history. While we don't know the facts of your case in detail, you may very well have been eligible for a waiver of inadmissibility. Now in addition to the criminal issue you have a fraud issue as well.

    Can you apply for a Presidential pardon? Sure. Anyone can. Is it likely to be granted? As you say, you have a better chance to be hit by lightning. However, before you do anything I would consult with an experienced immigration attorney so that you truly understand the immigration implications of your situation. At the very least, if you are going to request some form of clemency, you want the factual and legal basis of your claim to be correct.

    While this answer is provided by a Florida Bar Certified Expert in Immigration and Nationality Law, it is for general information purposes only and an attorney/client relationship is neither intended nor created. You should seek out qualified counsel to review your case and provide you with advice specific to your situation. Review Mr. Devore's Avvo Profile for more information about his expertise in immigration law and how to contact him to discuss your case.

Immigration topics

Top tips from attorneys

What others are asking

Can't find what you're looking for?

Post a free question on our public forum.

Ask a Question

- or -

Search for lawyers by reviews and ratings.

Find a Lawyer

Browse all legal topics