Once you have a criminal conviction, you carry that with you the rest of your life. There are very limited ways to remove the consequences of a conviction in North Carolina, and you may suffer the consequences even after you complete your court-imposed sentence. One of the ways to remove the consequences of a conviction is through an executive pardon, which may also be known as a presidential pardon.

To begin with, the Collateral Consequences Resource Center explains you may only receive an executive pardon if you have completed your sentence. In fact, you typically must wait five years after the end of your sentence. On rare occasions, the president may pardon someone who is still incarcerated. Usually, though, you cannot have any current court proceedings in progress.

You must submit an application to the Office of the Pardon Attorney. You and your case go through a thorough investigation. Considerations include why you need the pardon, what crime you committed, recommendations on your behalf from officials and your attitude towards your situation and crime.

You should understand that a pardon does not remove your conviction or release you from the charges. It is simply a recognition of your rehabilitation and betterment of your character. An expungement at the state level will seal your records, which means only law enforcement and other approved individuals may ever access the records. Essentially, an expungement clears your record. A pardon does not, which is a distinction worth noting. This information is for education and is not legal advice.