So you want to try to get a pardon in Virginia?
This guide is designed to help those who have convictions and are looking for a pardon?
What is a pardon?There are two different types of pardons: the simple pardon and the absolute pardon. The simple pardon does not erase the charge but gives you the Governor's forgiveness. The Absolute Pardon erases your conviction. The Absolute Pardon is not available to people who pled guilty. Below is the explanation of the two.
With those with felony convictions, you need an additional step of getting your rights restored.If your charge is a felony, the first thing you must do is get your rights restored. The criteria is different for Non-violent felonies and for violent felonies. For non-violent felonies, you must not have any pending felony charges, be out of prison, and have successfully completed all obligations to the court and probation. For violent felonies: You cannot have any pending charges and be free of charges for 3 years. You must also be done with all obligations to the court or probation for 3 years. See link below for more details.
Simple PardonA simple pardon grants forgiveness to a crime but does not erase it. Your conviction still appears, with the word "pardon" next to it. This may help though when applying for jobs as you can explain that your conviction was investigated and the governor's office chose to forgive you for the conviction. There is no official application but a person must send a letter with some required information. To petition for a simple pardon, you must be free of all conditions set by the court (including any probation period, suspended time, or good time behavior) on all convictions followed by a waiting period of ten years. See link below for more details.
Absolute PardonThis is only available if a person pled not guilty during the criminal process and has exhausted all his other remedies. In this case the Governor believes the person is innocent. This will erase the conviction. This is rarely granted. See link below for more details.