How to Apply for a Pardon in Texas

Three Parts:Gathering Required DocumentsFilling Out Your ApplicationSubmitting Your Application

You made a mistake in your younger, more foolish years. Now you've gotten your act straight, have a good job and a family, but this old arrest is still causing you difficulty. Maybe you can't move up in your career, or maybe you've had a hard time finding housing. If your offense occurred in the state of Texas, you'll have to get a full pardon before you can enjoy civil rights such as the right to vote and apply to have the offense expunged from your record. This process begins with filling out an application and submitting it to the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles in Austin.

Part 1
Gathering Required Documents

  1. Image titled Reduce Your Student Loan Payments Step 6
    Understand the benefits of getting a pardon. A pardon restores your civil rights such as the right to vote and the right to serve on a jury. However, it doesn't necessarily restore your right to bear arms or expunge the crime from your record.[1]
    • In some professions you cannot be licensed unless you are fully pardoned. If that is the case, provide the Board with a letter from the licensing authority indicating that you are otherwise eligible for a license but won't be granted one unless you receive a full pardon.[2]
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    Determine if you are eligible for a pardon. The Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles does not consider pardon requests in certain cases, such as if you have a prior federal conviction or a prior felony conviction in another state.[3]
    • The Board lists several examples of circumstances in which it will consider a request for a full pardon. For example, if your offense occurred on or before August 28, 1977 and you've served at least 12 months on parole, you will be eligible for a pardon.[4][5]
  3. Image titled Obtain a Copy of Your Birth Certificate in Alabama Step 2
    Download the required application form and instructions. Get the official pardon application form and instructions and read them carefully before you proceed.
    • The application is lengthy and detailed, and will require you to get a number of court and police documents for the Board to review.
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    Get law enforcement agency offense reports for every time you've been arrested. You must include a full offense report for each arrest with your application.[6]
    • These arrest reports don't have to be certified. If your offense involved drugs, you must include a copy of the laboratory report.[7]
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    Get certified court documents for every time you've been arrested as an adult. All court documents, including complaints, indictments, orders, or sentences, must be certified by the appropriate clerk.[8]
    • This includes any arrest for which you were certified or tried as an adult, even if you were 16 or under.[9]
    • The required court documents vary depending on the outcome of the offense. For example, if you were convicted of the offense and the court ordered a fine or restitution, you must include a certified statement from the clerk of court showing the full amount was paid.
    • If you were convicted and sentenced to prison, you must include the complaint, judgment and sentence in your case.
    • The application includes instructions for different types of offense and specific documentation the Board requires.[10]
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    Get an official criminal history statement from the sheriff of the county where you live. All applications must include a criminal history statement from the county where you live, even if you don't currently live in Texas.[11]
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    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 recommending a full pardon.[12]
    • The people who write your letters of recommendation cannot be 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.[13]
    • The letters also should be addressed to the Board of Pardons and Paroles and include the name, occupation, signature, telephone number, and mailing address of the person writing the letter.[14]
  8. Image titled Find a Job in Dubai Step 5
    Get a letter from your employer or prospective employer. If you are also asking that your firearm 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[15]
    • Keep in mind that restoration of gun rights is limited to certain unusual circumstances where you are unable to earn a living without them.[16]

Part 2
Filling Out Your Application

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    Use the correct application materials. Your application must be printed on white paper and filled out using blue or black ink.[17]
    • You cannot alter the application form by reformatting it or rewriting it, and you cannot staple or otherwise affix any of your documents to the application itself.[18]
    • Write your name at the top of each page in case they become separated.[19]
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    Enter your demographic information. Your application must include your full name, race and gender, date and place of birth, and other information such as your marital status.[20]
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    Enter your current address and all other addresses you've had since you were 18 years old. For this section, you are allowed to state that you don't remember if necessary.[21]
    • You must include both your current mailing address and your current physical address, even if they are the same, and indicate the number of years you have lived at that address.[22]
    • Once you've entered your current address, list all other addresses you've had, working backwards. You can attach more sheets if you need to do so after filling the blanks on the application page.[23]
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    List all of your employers. You must start with your current employer and list in reverse chronological order, including all available information.[24]
    • You should include all employers you've had since you turned 18, attaching additional sheets if necessary after you've filled that application page.[25]
    • Include all the information you have about the employment, including the dates you worked there, your job position, your average monthly income, and a description of your duties.[26]
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    Complete questions about your legal, incarceration, or parole status and provide identification numbers where necessary. This section asks for details about your time of incarceration or parole for any and all offenses, and may require you to attach additional sheets with detailed explanations.[27]
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    Write out the reasons for and circumstances surrounding your request. The justification section of your application begins by asking for you to state why you are requesting a full pardon.[28]
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    Write out the efforts you've made to rehabilitate yourself. The second part of the justification section asks what you've done since your conviction to show that you deserve a full pardon.[29]
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    Read the certification statement. Although you shouldn't sign your application until you've completely reviewed it, read the oaths so you understand them.[30]
    • By signing the application under the certification, you grant the Board permission to investigate everything you've included in your application, and swear that all the information you've provided is true and correct.[31]
  9. Image titled Become a Strength and Conditioning Coach Step 5
    Fill out the criminal history forms with your version of events related to each offense listed in your criminal history report. 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 out your version of the events surrounding the offense in narrative form.[32]
    • Since you can only include one offense on each form, you should make additional copies of the blank form for each offense you have.[33]
    • You must provide a detailed statement from your own perspective of the circumstances surrounding your offense and how involved you were in those events. Saying you don't remember is not an acceptable answer on these pages.[34]

Part 3
Submitting Your Application

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    Go through the application checklist. The Board includes a checklist with the application that you can use to make sure you've included all the required documents and information.[35]
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    Sign and date your application. After you've confirmed that everything is included and correct to the best of your knowledge and ability, you're ready to sign it.
    • Make sure you use blue or black ink to sign and date your application.[36]
  3. Image titled Notarize a Document Step 3
    Make a copy of everything for your records. Before you mail your application, you should make at least one copy of each page of your application and other documents.[37]
  4. Image titled Change Your Name in Hawaii Step 11
    Mail your original application with all supporting documentation. Once everything is ready, mail it to the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles, ATTN: Clemency Section, 8610 Shoal Creek Blvd., Austin, Texas, 78757.[38]
    • If the Board is satisfied that you should be granted a pardon, it will recommend you to the governor.[39] There is no appeals process if you are denied. However, if the Board doesn't recommend a full pardon for you, you can reapply after two years.[40]


  • If you have any difficulty getting any of the required documents from an agency, submit a letter to the Texas Board of Pardon and Paroles that is dated and details the agency name, address, and phone number, as well as all the times you've attempted to get the documents, how you attempted to get them, and the names of anyone you spoke with.[41]
  • If you can't get certified court documents, have the clerk send a letter to the Board explaining why the documents can't be obtained.[42]


  • Even if a full pardon is granted, the offense is not automatically expunged from your record. To do that, you must petition the district court in the county where you were convicted.[43][44]

Sources and Citations

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Categories: Criminal and Penal Law Procedure