Restoration Rights

The most frequent reasons for requesting a Governor's pardon (GP) are for personal satisfaction, and for licensing, bonding or other employment purposes.

  • A GP does not seal or expunge the Court's record of conviction. (Penal Code §4852.17.) If the person is convicted of a new criminal offense after having received a Certificate of Rehabilitation (COR) or a GP, or both, the prior conviction may be considered for any lawful purpose involving that new criminal conviction. A person who has received a COR, or who has been pardoned cannot say that he or she has no record of arrest or conviction. Instead, the person can say that he or she has been convicted and has received a COR or has been pardoned.
  • A GP is not necessary to vote. An individual convicted of a felony is only ineligible to vote (i.e. disenfranchised) during that period of time where he or she is serving an actual prison sentence, including the period of time he or she is on active parole. Once the individual is discharged from parole, he or she becomes, as a matter of law, eligible to vote again in California. (California Constitution, Article 2, §4; Elections Code §§ 2101, 2106, and 2300(a)(1)(B); League of Women Voters of California v. McPherson (2006) 145 Cal.App.4th 1469.)
  • A person who receives a GP may serve on a jury. (Code of Civil Procedure §203(a)(5); Penal Code §4852.17.)
  • A person who receives a GP may be employed as a state parole officer or as a county probation officer, but cannot otherwise be employed as a peace officer. (Government Code §1029; Penal Code §4852.17.)
  • A person convicted of a felony cannot own or possess firearms (Penal Code §12021), or ammunition (Penal Code §12316). However, if the individual receives a GP, he or she may own or possess any type of weapon that may lawfully be possessed by others in California - unless the person was convicted of a felony offense that involved the use of a dangerous weapon. A GP does not necessarily permit the possession of a weapon under the laws of another state or the federal government. The law governing the right to own or possess firearms (and ammunition) can be found in Penal Code §4854.
  • The granting of a GP or COR, or both, does not prevent some licensing agencies from still considering the pardoned conviction in determining whether a license should be granted to practice certain professions. The law regarding licensing determinations can be found in Penal Code §§ 4853 and 4852.18.
  • The Governor of California cannot grant a pardon for a conviction suffered in a foreign jurisdiction (e.g. another state, federal proceeding, or territory or possession of the United States). A person convicted in a foreign jurisdiction must apply for a pardon in that jurisdiction.
  • Federal pardon information can be obtained from the Pardon Attorney, U.S. Department of Justice, 500 First Street Northwest, Washington D.C. 20530.

Source: Office of the Governor, Legal Affairs Secretary, California; California Constitution; Elections Code; Government Code; Penal Code