Questions about Pardons

What Is A Pardon?
PARDON means that an individual is fully forgiven from all the legal consequences of his crime and of his conviction, direct and collateral.

Who Is Eligible For A Pardon?
In order for an individual to be eligible for a pardon, all restitution and collection fees must be Pardon brochure 2012-COVER (2)paid in full.
Probationers: After discharge from supervision
Parolees: After successful completion of five years under supervision; or any time after the successful completion of the maximum parole period of less than five years.
Inmates: The Board will consider pardons based upon the application and findings of extraordinary circumstances.
Inmates with Terminal Illness: If an inmate has a life expectancy of one year or less. Two separate doctors’ statements documenting life expectancy must be attached to the application.

Civil Rights Restored Upon Pardon:
Pardons should FULLY restore all civil rights lost as a result of conviction. These include the following rights:

  • To register to vote and to vote
  • Serve on a jury
  • Hold public office (in most instances)
  • Testify in court without having the conviction used for impeachment
  • Be licensed for any occupation requiring a license

Do I Still Have To List My Conviction On A Job Application?
Yes. A pardon is not the same as an expungement. If asked by an employer, you should list your
conviction but indicate that you have received a pardon for the offense.

If I Receive A Pardon For An Offense That Requires I Register As A Sex Offender, Does That Mean I Don’t Have To Register Again?

You must still register. A pardon does NOT relieve an individual from the requirements to register as a sex offender.

How Do I Apply For A Pardon?

Fill Out An Application

The Department of Probation, Parole, and Pardon Services has applications available online or you
can request one in writing. The application form is available online at or you can request one by writing to:
Dept. of Probation
Parole and Pardon Services
P.O. Box 50666
Columbia, SC 29250

Applying For A Pardon:

An application for a pardon consists of the following:
1. The Application Form
2. Three (3) written letters of reference
3. A $100 non-refundable fee

How Long Before I Know If I Will Be Granted A Pardon?

The Pardon process generally takes between 7-9 months. If you are out of state, the process could take longer. Each pardon application is assigned to an investigator and the investigation portion takes about 90 days to complete. At some point you will receive notice that your hearing has been scheduled.

I Need A Pardon Before I Can Be Hired For A Job. Is There Anything I Can Do To Speed
Up The Process?

An Applicant may request an expedited investigation on the application form under “Reason for Requesting a Pardon.” You must also attach a statement to your application explaining the extraordinary circumstances for the request. There is no right to an expedited hearing.

I’ve Received Notice Of My Hearing. Now What?

You will receive notice 30 days prior to the hearing date. The Board shall permit your attorney or other people to appear on your behalf at the hearing. If there was a victim in your underlying conviction, that person will also receive notice 30 days prior to the hearing, and they may attend the hearing in support or opposition to your pardon. In some situations they may appear by video conference or simply submit a letter to the board.

Who Decides If I Am Granted A Pardon?

In order to receive a pardon, at least two-thirds of the members of the board must agree to the pardon. The Pardon Board is made up of seven (7) members appointed by the governor. Six of the seven members must be appointed from each of the congressional districts, and one member is appointed at large.

How Often Are Pardons Granted?

That is a hard question to answer. Each pardon depends on a very unique set of circumstances. In 2011, 496 people applied for a pardon and 301 of those applications were granted.

What Happens If The Board Denies My Application For A Pardon?

If a pardon application was considered and denied, you must wait one (1) year from the date of denial before filing another pardon application and fee.

Revised June 2012
Copyright retained by South Carolina Appleseed Legal Justice Center. For permission to reproduce this brochure contact SC Appleseed P.O. Box 7187 Columbia, SC 29202

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