Governor’s Pardon—Application For Traditional Pardon Directly From Governor (Without Certificate Of Rehabilitation)

The Application

You will need to fill out the “Application for Gubernatorial Pardon” with information about the conviction you want pardoned, any other convictions on your record, and why you deserve a pardon.

You can get the application online at:, or request an application by mail by writing to the Governor’s office at the address below:

Governor’s Office
State Capitol
ATTN: Legal Affairs
Sacramento, CA 95814

(There is a sample application in included in APPENDIX HH, on PG. 1080, but you should get the most up-to-date version from the Governor’s Office or online, in case there are recent changes).

To complete the application, you will need to the following information:

    Your personal information (name, date of birth, address, etc.);
    Information about all of your prior convictions, including those in other states/countries;
    The circumstances of the crime you are requesting a pardon for;
    Why you are requesting the pardon;
    Why you think you should be granted a pardon (such as your excellent conduct, accomplishments, responsibilities, and rehabilitation since your conviction);
    The names of anyone you paid or gave a gift to for helping you with the application.

IMPORTANT: If you are directly applying for a “Traditional Pardon,” also called a “Direct Pardon,” from the Governor, you may want to emphasize and explain the following:

    Your excellent conduct since your conviction;You have led an honest and upstanding life since your conviction;You have contributed to your community and been a responsible member of society;Your responsibilities and accomplishments, including work, school, volunteering, family situation, community involvement, and/or religion;You have avoided any further criminal activity.

Notice to the District Attorney

    After you fill out your application, you must notify the District Attorney in the county where your conviction is from that you intend to request a pardon. If you are requesting a pardon for several convictions, you must notify the DAs in every county where you have a conviction.[3342]
    You must use a special form to notify the DAs. The form is included in the Application for Gubernatorial Pardon, along with instructions on how to complete the form and deliver it to the DA(s).
    You must deliver your notice for to the DA(s) at least 10 days before you submit your application to the Governor.[3343]
    Once the DA has received your notice, he/she will complete the bottom section of the form to confirm that he/she received the notice, and then return it directly to the Governor’s Office.

Submitting your Application to the Governor’s Office

At least 10 days after you have sent your notice to the DA(s) in every county where you have convictions to be pardoned, you will mail your completed Application for Gubernatorial Pardon to the Governor’s Office:[3344]

Governor’s Office
State Capitol
ATTN: Legal Affairs
Sacramento, CA 95814

The Review

After you have submitted your application, the Governor will begin a review of your case. S/he may request that the judge of the court in which you were convicted, or the DA who prosecuted you, provide a summary of the facts of your case as well as a recommendation on whether or not your pardon should be granted.[3345] The Governor will also typically forward your application to the Board of Parole Hearings for its opinion.[3346] The BPH may then investigate your application by reviewing transcripts and documents from your trial (or any other proceedings in our case), examining witnesses, taking testimony, or whatever else it finds necessary to evaluate your application. The BPH will then make a recommendation to the Governor.[3347] Remember, if you were convicted of more than one felony, the Governor MUST forward your application to the BPH for review.[3348]

IMPORTANT: If you were convicted of more than one felony, the Governor CANNOT grant your pardon without a recommendation from the California Supreme Court.[3349] However, the Governor does not have to send your application to the Supreme Court to get its recommendation in the first place!


  1. 3342

    Cal. Penal Code § 4802.

  2. 3343

    Cal. Penal Code § 4802.

  3. 3344

    See How to Apply for a Pardon, State of Cal. Office of the Governor (Sept. 5, 2013),

  4. 3345

    Cal. Penal Code § 4803.

  5. 3346

    How to Apply for a Pardon, State of Cal. Office of the Governor (Sept. 5, 2013),

  6. 3347

    Cal. Penal Code § 4812.

  7. 3348

    Cal. Penal Code §§ 4802, 4813.

  8. 3349

    Cal. Penal Code § 4852.16.