After Governor Tony Evers’ election and first six months in office, the chance for a fresh start has been restored to those who have a criminal record. Offenders can now apply for pardons for the first time since Evers’ predecessor Scott Walker halted the process eight years ago. Evers has reformed the Pardon Advisory Board, which consists of nine members who consider pardon requests and provide recommendations to the governor. Anyone who is seeking a pardon should understand the steps that will be followed.

What Does the Process Look Like?

The pardon process begins with an application that is submitted to the Pardon Advisory Board. Pardons will be considered for those who have been convicted of a felony in Wisconsin, completed their entire sentence at least five years ago, and have not been convicted of any new criminal offenses since completing their sentence. However, not all offenders can apply: anyone on the sex offender registry is ineligible. 

After submitting the application, it must be deemed eligible and complete by the board before moving forward. A public hearing will be scheduled. Though a hearing is typically only 15 minutes in length, the applicant will answer a series of questions posed by the board. These will focus on information about the crimes that were committed, the individual’s current lifestyle, and an explanation for why a pardon is deserved in this instance. If the board recommends a pardon, the Governor will receive the application for a final review. This is not a quick process, due to the high influx of applications that has come with the reinstatement of the Pardon Advisory Board.

What Does the Pardon Advisory Board Look For?

There are various factors that the advisory board considers in the short time period reserved for each applicant, which is why it is important to prepare for your interview to make the most of your time. Your criminal record is the first area that is inspected. Your entire criminal record will be reviewed to see how extensive it is. The seriousness of the crime you are seeking to be pardoned for is one of the biggest considerations in the process, as well as the length of time that has passed since the crime was committed. Showing improvement of character is the primary area of importance. Applicants may show personal development through their employment, training, education, and community service efforts. Letters of recommendation will serve as further proof of this personal progress. 

A need for the pardon is the final area that is considered. This may be because of employment opportunities, school, job training, or the desire to hold public office in the future. The best way to prove this is through written documentation of the need for the pardon from an employer, licensing agency, school, or training program. Coming prepared with such documents is crucial to completing a successful board hearing.

Call a Milwaukee Criminal Pardon Attorney for Help

Those convicted of a felony lose a number of civil rights, including the right to vote and the right to own or possess a firearm. Many who have been convicted of a crime in the past have learned from their mistakes and changed over time, and lifelong restrictions are unnecessary. At Gimbel, Reilly, Guerin & Brown LLP, we regularly handle pardon applications for people throughout the state of Wisconsin. If you are seeking a second chance, contact our Milwaukee, WI pardon lawyers at 414-271-1440 for legal help.




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