Pardon Attorneys - Minnesota

Pardon Attorneys

In 1857, when the Minnesota State Constitution was being drafted, the process for pardons was deemed to be so important as to include it in the state constitution. Minn. Const. Art. V § 7. A pardon sets aside a conviction so that you are no longer considered to have been convicted for that crime. Minn. Stat. § 638.02. The conviction is nullified – it no longer exists. This means the person no longer has to acknowledge its existence in interviews or on background checks. And the person receiving the pardon has his/her civil rights fully restored. The pardon system is designed to prevent miscarriages of justice where the judicial process has been exhausted. But, the pardon system is not easy to understand and apply for without strong Minnesota pardon attorneys to help guide and advocate for you.

How to Apply for a Pardon

In order to receive a pardon, you must submit an application to the board of pardons. The board of pardons only hold hearings twice a year. So, it is important to pay attention to the deadline in order to get your application sent in time for the next hearing. The board of pardons is constituted of the governor, the state attorney general, and the chief justice of the state supreme court. You must receive a unanimous vote from all three members in order to be granted a pardon. This is no easy task. But, it can be done.


In order to apply for a pardon, you must have already been discharged from probation for a minimum of five years, and not have been convicted of any other crimes in those five years. If your conviction was for a crime of violence as defined in Minn. Stat. § 624.712, subdivision 5, then you must wait ten years before applying for a pardon. You must similarly not be convicted of any other crime during those ten years. If the waiting time has not elapsed yet, there is a process to ask the board of pardons to waive the waiting period. The waiver of the waiting period is rarely granted when there are exceptional reasons for the waiver.

What to Put on the Application

The Board of Pardons has an application that you need to fill out completely. Some people might be misled into thinking it’s just as simple as filling out the form and sending it in. It’s not that simple. You will not receive a pardon unless you are strategic and put your best foot forward. And you may not even get the opportunity to argue your case at the hearing if your application does not meet the standards of the secretary of the board of pardons who screens the applications.

The petitioner must prove that they are of “good character and reputation” in order to receive a pardon. Demonstrating this requires looking at several different aspects of your life. Figuring out what to say in your application and what not to say can be a difficult task. Communicating why you have good character and why you deserve a pardon is most important task of the pardon process. The difference between receiving a pardon or not receiving hinges on the ability for you to communicate this.

Experienced and knowledgeable Minnesota pardon attorneys know how to communicate to the board of pardons your good character and the reasons for your pardon in the most effective way. Your success depends on the board of pardons receiving the most persuasive argument for why you deserve a pardon.