Getting convicted on criminal charges can have a significant impact on all aspects of your life. You can face serious fines, jail time, prison time or even death. However, under certain circumstances, the crime may be forgiven. This is known as a clemency. A clemency may be granted either by the governor of a state or the President of the United States for a federal crime.
The are different types of clemency, including:
- Reprieve, and
- Commutation of a sentence
Reprieve as a Form of Clemency
The governor or President may grant a reprieve in capital cases where the criminally convicted individual is facing execution, or death. A reprieve is granted to suspend the execution for a specific amount of time in order to consider whether the death sentence should actually be imposed. Most TV shows and movies portray a reprieve as a clemency that is granted moments before the execution. In actuality, a reprieve is generally granted long before the death sentence.
Commutation as a Form of Clemency
Another type of clemency is commuting the sentence imposed by the criminal judge for a crime. Commutation does not avoid a conviction. But it does reduce the penalty for the crime you are convicted for. For example, if you are currently serving a life sentence for a non-violent drug crime, the governor or President may commute your sentence in the interest of justice.
Pardons as a Form of Clemency
Pardons are generally granted if you have either clearly fulfilled your debt to society or are worthy of having your crime forgiven. A pardon will not erase your conviction. However, it can under certain circumstances remove some of the disqualifications that were attached to your conviction. For example, if the state governor grants you a pardon, it may remove your inability to vote, hold public office or own a firearm. In order to obtain a pardon, you must admit guilt for the crime you committed.
Get Legal Help to Apply for Clemency
There are no fees for applying for clemency. However, it can be in your best interest to have an experienced Central Valley criminal defense attorney help you with your clemency application. Having an attorney help you with the application process can be beneficial for several reasons, such as:
- Reducing the chances of making a mistake in the application process
- Reducing the time it takes to get an answer regarding your application
- Increase the likelihood of actually obtaining the clemency
Call an Experienced Central Valley Criminal Defense Attorney
If you or someone that you care about has been arrested or charged with a crime that you did not commit, it is important that you immediately hire an experienced criminal defense attorney to help protect your legal rights and ensure that you have the best defense possible to avoid a criminal conviction.
For more information or to schedule a complimentary consultation with Central Valley criminal defense attorney Gurjit Srai, please call us at (209) 323-5558 or (559) 449-1447, or complete our online form.