In Texas, you can apply for a pardon.

You made a mistake in your younger years.You’ve gotten your act straight, have a good job and a family, but you’re still having trouble with an old arrest.Maybe you can’t move up in your career, or maybe you have a hard time finding a place to live.Before you can enjoy civil rights such as the right to vote and apply to have an offense expunged from your record, you have to get a full pardon in Texas.The application must be submitted to the Texas Board of Paroles in Austin.

Step 1: You should understand the benefits of a pardon.

Civil rights such as the right to vote and serve on a jury can be restored with a pardon.It doesn’t restore your right to bear arms or expunge the crime from your record.You can’t be licensed in some professions if you’re not fully pardoned.If that is the case, give the Board a letter from the licensing authority indicating that you are eligible for a license but won’t be granted one unless you receive a full pardon.

Step 2: Determine if you are eligible for a pardon.

If you have a prior felony conviction in another state, the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles won’t consider your pardon request.The Board will consider a request for a full pardon in a number of circumstances.If your offense occurred before August 28, 1977 and you’ve served at least 12 months on parole, you will be eligible for a pardon.

Step 3: Application form and instructions can be downloaded.

Before you apply for a pardon, you should get the official form and instructions.A number of court and police documents are required for the Board to review the application.

Step 4: Every time you’ve been arrested, you should get offense reports from the law enforcement agency.

You have to include a full offense report for each arrest.Arrest reports don’t have to be certified.You must include a copy of the laboratory report if your offense involved drugs.

Step 5: If you’ve been arrested as an adult, you should get certified court documents.

All court documents must be certified by the appropriate clerk.Any arrest for which you were certified or tried as an adult is included.Depending on the outcome of the offense, the required court documents vary.If you were convicted of an offense and the court ordered you to pay a fine, you need to include a certified statement from the clerk of court showing the full amount was paid.You have to include the complaint, judgment and sentence in your case if you were sentenced to prison.Instructions for different types of offense are included in the application.

Step 6: You can get a criminal history statement from the sheriff.

If you don’t live in Texas, you must include a criminal history statement from the county where you live.

Step 7: You should get at least three letters of recommendation.

You must include at least three dated, original letters written by citizens of the state of Texas on your behalf and recommend a full pardon.The people who write your letters of recommendation are not family members.While you can get family members to write letters on your behalf, those letters won’t be considered as one of your three required letters of recommendation.The name, occupation, signature, telephone number, and mailing address of the person writing the letter should be included in the letters.

Step 8: You should get a letter from your employer.

If you are asking that your gun rights be restored through this application, you must include a letter that explains the need for you to have firearm rights as a condition of employment.

Step 9: The correct application materials should be used.

The application must be filled out using blue or black ink.You can’t alter the application form by changing it, or staple any of your documents to it.If they become separated, write your name at the top of each page.

Step 10: You can enter demographic information.

Your application must include your full name, race and gender, date and place of birth, and other information.

Step 11: You have had many addresses since you were 18 years old.

You can state that you don’t remember if necessary for this section.You must include both your mailing address and physical address, even if they are the same, as well as the number of years you have lived at that address.List all the other addresses you have had once you’ve entered your current address.After filling in the blanks on the application page, you can attach more sheets.

Step 12: List your employers.

All available information must be included in the reverse chronological order of your current employer and list.Attach additional sheets if you need them after you’ve filled that application page.The dates you worked there, your job position, average monthly income, and a description of your duties should be included.

Step 13: Provide identification numbers where necessary and complete questions about your legal, incarceration, or parole status.

The section asks for information about your time in prison or parole for any and all offenses, and may require you to attach additional sheets with detailed explanations.

Step 14: Write down the reasons for the request.

The purpose of the justification section is to ask you why you are requesting a full pardon.

Step 15: Write down what you’ve done to rehabilitate yourself.

The second part of the justification asks what you’ve done since your conviction to show that you deserve a full pardon.

Step 16: The statement should be read.

If you want to understand the oaths, read them.By signing the application under the certification, you grant the Board permission to investigate everything you’ve included in your application, and you swear that all the information you have provided is true and correct.

Step 17: You can fill out the criminal history forms with your version of the events that happened.

For each offense that appears in your court documentation, you must fill out a basic form with additional information about the offense, and then write your version of the events surrounding it in narrative form.You should make additional copies of the blank form for each offense you have since you can only include one offense on each form.You need to give a detailed statement from your perspective of the circumstances surrounding your offense and how involved you were.It’s not an acceptable answer to say you don’t remember.

Step 18: Go through the application form.

You can use the Board’s checklist to make sure you include all the required documents.

Step 19: You must sign and date your application.

You’re ready to sign it after you confirm that everything is included and correct to the best of your knowledge and ability.You should use blue or black ink to sign and date your application.

Step 20: You should make a copy of everything.

You need to make at least one copy of each page of your application before you mail it.

Step 21: All supporting documentation should be sent with your original application.

You can mail it to the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles once everything is ready.The Board will recommend you to the governor if it is satisfied that you should be granted a pardon.If you are denied, there is no appeals process.You can reapply after two years if the Board doesn’t recommend a full pardon.