California Certificate of Rehabilitation
A person who has been convicted of a felony and has been discharged from custody after the completion of the term which they were sentenced may apply for a Certificate of Rehabilitation. The person must not have been incarcerated in any other state penal institution since his or her release and must have been a resident of California for 3 years immediately preceding the application (Penal Code 4852.01(a)).
Certificate of Rehabilitation
A Certificate of Rehabilitation is a court order declaring that a person convicted of a crime is now rehabilitated. Any person convicted of a felony who still resides in California may apply to the Superior Court in the county where they were convicted for a Certificate of Rehabilitation. There are special rules that apply to individuals convicted of sex offenses. Once a petition is filed, the court may require an investigation by the district attorney and will schedule a hearing. If the Court issues a Certificate of Rehabilitation, the certificate is forwarded to the Governor’s Office where it automatically becomes an application for a pardon. The Governor’s receipt of a Certificate of Rehabilitation does not guarantee that a pardon will be granted.
Restoration of Rights – Certificate of Rehabilitation
In California, the granting of a Certificate of Rehabilitation restores to the applicant some rights of citizenship that were forfeited as a result of a conviction.
Certificate of Rehabilitation Restoration of Rights:
- Relieve some sex offenders, as specified, of further duty to register (PC § 290.5).
- Enhance a felon’s potential for licensing consideration by a State board (PC § 4853).
- Serve as an official document to demonstrate a felon’s rehabilitation for employment.
- Serve as an automatic application for a gubernatorial pardon.
A certificate of Rehabilitation Does not:
- Erase the felony conviction or seal the criminal record (Pen. Code, § 4852.17).
- Prevent the offense from being used as a prior conviction if later convicted of a new offense.
- Allow a felon to answer on employment applications that he/she has no record of conviction.
- Give a felon the right to vote, because voting is automatically restored after parole discharge.
- Restore the right to own or possess firearms.
California Penal Code Section 4852.01
(a) Any person convicted of a felony who has been released from a state prison or other state penal institution or agency in California, whether discharged on completion of the term for which he or she was sentenced or released on parole prior to May 13, 1943, who has not been incarcerated in a state prison or other state penal institution or agency since his or her release and who presents satisfactory evidence of a three-year residence in this state immediately prior to the filing of the petition for a certificate of rehabilitation and pardon provided for by this chapter, may file the petition pursuant to the provisions of this chapter.
(b) Any person convicted of a felony who, on May 13, 1943, was confined in a state prison or other institution or agency to which he or she was committed and any person convicted of a felony after that date who is committed to a state prison or other institution or agency may file a petition for a certificate of rehabilitation and pardon pursuant to the provisions of this chapter.
(c) Any person convicted of a felony or any person who is convicted of a misdemeanor violation of any sex offense specified in Section 290, the accusatory pleading of which has been dismissed pursuant to Section 1203.4, may file a petition for certificate of rehabilitation and pardon pursuant to the provisions of this chapter if the petitioner has not been incarcerated in any prison, jail, detention facility, or other penal institution or agency since the dismissal of the accusatory pleading and is not on probation for the commission of any other felony, and the petitioner presents satisfactory evidence of five years residence in this state prior to the filing of the petition.
(d) This chapter shall not apply to persons serving a mandatory life parole, persons committed under death sentences, persons convicted of a violation of subdivision (c) of Section 286, Section 288, subdivision (c) of Section 288a, Section 288.5, or subdivision (j) of Section 289, or persons in the military service.
(e) Notwithstanding the above provisions or any other provision of law, the Governor shall have the right to pardon a person convicted of a violation of subdivision (c) of Section 286, Section 288,subdivision (c) of Section 288a, Section 288.5, or subdivision (j) of Section 289, if there are extraordinary circumstances.