Simple Pardons are considered for exceptional situations. Usually Virginia governors are reluctant to substitute their judgment for that of the courts. However, if an individual feels able to provide substantial evidence of such exceptional circumstances, he or she may submit a petition for pardon to the Governor.
A simple pardon is an act by the Governor on behalf of the Commonwealth where official forgiveness is granted for a crime for which a person has been convicted. The Virginia Governor’s power of executive clemency only extends to Virginia convictions. The Office of the Governor has no jurisdiction over expungements, out-of-state convictions, or federal convictions.
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 five years. To obtain a copy of your criminal record, contact the Virginia State Police â€“ Criminal Records division.
If any felony was involved, you MUST have been granted your Restoration of Rights before appealing for the pardon.
At this time, there is no formal application. If all conditions have all been met, please send the following information to our office in a letter to the Governor:
- full name and any previous names and aliases;
- Social Security number;
- date of birth;
- mailing and street address;
- phone numbers;
- a copy of Restoration of Rights paperwork, if a felony conviction was involved;
- dates, courts, sentences or other dispositions of all misdemeanor and felony convictions;
- a complete statement of details for each conviction; and
- an explanation of why the Governor should grant a pardon.
This letter serves as your official petition; there is no official form you need to fill out.
Please provide all the relevant information you wish to have considered. Documents (or copies of documents) submitted to our office for pardon petition consideration cannot be copied or returned. For this reason, please be sure to retain copies of all documents sent to our office.
The petition process does not include a hearing, meeting or conference with the petitioner or persons on the petitioner’s behalf. There is no reliable method of predicting how long a pardon petition investigation will take to complete. The investigation process may take a year or longer.
If a pardon is granted, a notation will be added to the criminal record showing the word “pardon” next to the conviction. A pardon does not remove the conviction from a criminal record.
If a petition is denied, the petitioner cannot appeal the decision but the petitioner may file a new petition two years after the date of the denial letter.
Pardons - Office of the Secretary of the Commonwealth
Post Office Box 2454
Richmond, Virginia 23218-2454
For additional information, please email our office at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 804-692-2542