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Frequently Asked Questions

General Questions

A pardon is an act of forgiveness granted by the Governor for a crime or crimes committed by an individual. A pardon is a privilege, not a right. As per statute, the Pardon and Parole Board must first provide a favorable recommendation to the Governor regarding an individual's request for a pardon. Only the Governor can grant a pardon. Neither an application for a pardon nor a recommendation from the Board guarantees that a pardon will be granted.

No, a pardon does not clear a criminal record but does acknowledge that someone has worked hard to become a productive, law-abiding citizen after making mistakes in the past.

In order to be eligible for a pardon, a person must meet the following criteria:

  1. Must have been convicted of an Oklahoma law violation, either a felony or misdemeanor, or a crime of moral turpitude involving alcohol or an illegal drug offense in an Oklahoma Municipal Court. Traffic misdemeanor convictions are NOT eligible for a pardon. 
  2. Must have fully completed the entire sentence, including parole, probation, and postimprisonment supervision. 
  3. Must have paid all fines, fees, restitution, court costs, etc. in full. 
  4. Must not have any new or pending charges, unresolved detainers, warrants, tax liens, or child support arrearages. 
  5. Must not currently be in jail or prison. 
  6. Must not have been considered for a pardon within the previous twelve months.

Any cases from other jurisdictions must also meet these criteria, even if they are not eligible for an Oklahoma pardon. 

You may download and print the application, or an application may be picked up at the administrative office.

No, there is no deadline to apply. Pardon applications are date stamped when received and reviewed on a first-come, first-served basis.

There is no fee associated with applying for pardon.

On average, processing an application takes approximately six to twelve months.

The pardon process is lengthy because all information must be verified. After a completed application is received, an NICS/OSBI report will be requested. The application is then assigned for a pre-pardon investigation. The pre-pardon investigation may take up to seventy (70) days to complete. Once the pre-pardon investigation is complete, the application will be placed on the next available docket. The Board is a part-time Board and only meets once a month. Following a favorable recommendation by the Board, the Governor also has ninety (90) days to make a decision.

No, there is no process for expediting a pardon application. 

All notifications will be sent electronically. You will also receive notification from the Pardon and Parole Board:

  1. If the application is missing documentation,
  2. When your application goes for pre-pardon investigation
  3. When your application is docketed for a hearing
  4. If the application goes to the Governor
  5. When the Governor makes a final decision, either granting or denying your pardon.

In order to continue to receive notifications, you will need to notify the Pardon and Parole Board of any address or telephone number changes. If you are not able to be contacted due to address or phone number changes, your application will be placed in suspension and withdrawn from the process. 

According to Oklahoma Statutes, Title 21 1283 (B) the only way to restore firearm rights is through a pardon granted by the Governor of Oklahoma. The statute states that any person who has previously been convicted of a nonviolent felony in any court of this state or of another state or of the United States and who has received a full and complete pardon from the proper authority and has not been convicted of any other felony offense that has not been pardoned shall have restored the right to possess any firearm or other weapon prohibited by subsection A of this section, the right to apply for and carry a handgun, concealed or unconcealed, pursuant to the Oklahoma Self-Defense Act, and the right to perform the duties of a peace officer, gunsmith, or for firearms repair.

There may be federal firearm laws that also apply. For more information, contact the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, Oklahoma Field Office, at 901 N.E. 122nd, Suite 200, Oklahoma City, OK 73114, or 405/748-8294, Option 2. 

Application Questions

Yes, but the applicant is required to sign the application, indicating that all the information being submitted is true and correct.

Certified copies of the Judgement and Sentence can be obtained from the Court Clerk in the county of conviction. If this information is omitted, it could result in the denial of the application.

If you do not have “credit,” then the credit agency will send a credit report stating that. A credit score alone is not sufficient. 

No, a letter from an employer is not sufficient. An example of proof would be a current pay stub, benefit statement, tax return, unemployment, or SSI. If this information is omitted, it could result in a delay in processing or denial of the application.

If you are not employed, send a copy of proof of your unemployment, proof of your SSI award, a retirement award, a bank statement showing the monthly deposit, or a tax document showing annual income if you own your own business. If you have no income what so ever, please state that you are unemployed and have no income in that section. If this information is omitted, it could result in a delay in processing or denial of the application. 

An example of a proof of residence is a mortgage statement, a certified rental receipt, a lease agreement, or a signed written statement that you live with someone and they pay the rent or mortgage. Documentation of proof of residence must be dated within sixty (60) days of the date of the application. Utility bills or cable bills are not sufficient. If this information is omitted, it could result in a delay in processing or denial of the application.

The application requests specifics on every crime for which you have been convicted, including the date that the crime occurred. If this information is omitted, it could result in a delay in processing or denial of the application. This could also result in some crimes being omitted entirely from the pardon process.

An affidavit is a sworn statement by a person, known as the affiant, setting forth certain facts that the affiant knows to be true. It usually consists of a brief statement of those facts and is signed by the affiant. The character affidavits must be notarized by a notary public. A Character affidavit is an optional document.


Yes, any bank will have notary services available for a small fee.

Board Review Questions

After the Pre-pardon Investigator Report is received, the application will be placed on the next available docket for the Pardon and Parole Board to review and consider the request for the pardon. The applicant will have an opportunity to present before the Board.

A letter is sent 21-days prior to the meeting providing the date, time, and place of the pardon hearing.

No, attendance is strongly encouraged but it is not required in order to receive a pardon.  

No. While some applicants hire an attorney to assist with a pardon application, an attorney is not required.

The administrative staff cannot provide any information as to your chances of success. The Board members consider factors such as nature of the crime, the length of time since the crime was committed, and what you have done with your life since the crime, among other elements. From the point of discharge of a sentence, there is no minimum amount of time that a person must wait to apply for a pardon. It should be noted that the law allows some past crimes to be used to enhance future crimes up to ten (10) years following the completion of the sentence or court imposed probation. A pardon remains a privilege and not a right. A Board member can vote for or against the granting of a pardon regardless of the time that has passed.

The Board meets once per month. The dates of the meetings can be found on the Board's website. 

If an applicant chooses to appear before the Board, the applicant may speak on their behalf or bring a representative, such as an attorney, to speak on their behalf. Only one person will be allowed to speak to the Board regarding the reasons for requesting the Pardon. If there are time constraints, the speaker may be given a limited amount of time, usually five (5) minutes, to address the Board. The Board Members may or may not have questions for the representative or the applicant.

Yes, the Board will vote at the conclusion of the applicant's hearing. Votes are not final until the conclusion of the monthly meeting.

If your pardon application received a favorable recommendation, the application will then be forwarded to the Governor’s Office for final action. The Governor has ninety (90) days from the date the application is received to make a decision. The Governor may choose to follow the Board’s recommendation and grant you a pardon or may deny the pardon.

If your application is denied either by the Board or by the Governor, you may reapply after one (1) year from the date of denial.

Neither the Board nor the Governor gives a reason for their decisions. Administrative staff are not able to explain the reason for your denial.

An applicant wishing to reapply following a denial may do so one (1) year after denial and another application must be completed.

If the Governor grants the pardon, you will get a letter stating you have been granted a pardon along with a copy of the pardon certificate and instructions on how to obtain a certified copy from the Oklahoma Secretary of State’s Office. 

General Questions

A commutation is a substitution of a lesser incarceration term for a greater one, or modification or reduction of a punishment, such as the change of an indefinite term to a definite term. The purpose of a commutation is to correct an unjust or excessive sentence in relation to the range of punishment for the crimes of conviction. A commutation is not intended to serve as an early release mechanism.

There are three reasons a sentence could be considered excessive or unjust: 1) The sentence for the range of punishment of the crime was excessive; 2) facts now known were not available to the court or jury at the time of the trial; or 3) there is a statutory change in the penalty for the crime which makes the original penalty appear excessive.

An Inmate in the custody of the Department of Corrections, not serving a probationary term as a result of a deferment or suspension of a sentence and not on parole, shall be eligible for commutation consideration of a sentence except for a conviction of impeachment

An inmate can apply at any time for a commutation. However, after an unfavorable recommendation, or denial, an inmate must wait three years from the date of denial.

At least three (3) members of the Pardon and Parole Board must favorably recommend a commutation before the application can be presented to the Governor. In Oklahoma, only the Governor can grant a commutation.

No, the Governor can accept or deny the recommendation made by the Pardon and Parole Board. The Governor can also change a recommendation made by the Board and grant a different commutation sentence.

No, the Pardon and Parole Board only considers cases for which an inmate is serving time and is in physical custody in the Department of Corrections. Inmates who are on parole or are serving probationary terms are not eligible for commutation. 

Yes, victims and/or representatives of the victim, the judicial representative from the court of conviction, a representative from the arresting law enforcement agency, and the District Attorney are allowed to protest the application.

An inmate’s family or friends may write letters of support on an inmate’s behalf. Letters may be typed or handwritten on one-side only. Handwritten letters must be legible. Please do not use staples. Letters must include the inmate's name, DOC number, and docket month and year on top of the each page and on the back of the envelope. The deadline to submit such documentation is the Tuesday before the hearing date.

No, an applicant does not need a lawyer to apply for a commutation. 

No, there is no deadline to apply. Once the application is reviewed and deemed complete, the application will be placed on the next docket.

No, there is no fee to apply for a commutation.

Application Questions

To apply for a commutation, the current application form must be completed and submitted to the Pardon and Parole Board. If the application is illegible, the application will be returned and will not be processed. Each question must be answered fully, truthfully, and accurately. Sections should not be left blank. It is the applicant's responsibility to submit a complete application. If the application is not complete, the applicant will be notified and given an opportunity to provide the missing information. No further action will occur until the information is received and the application is complete.

The Pardon and Parole Board does not provide applications directly to inmates. For an inmate to obtain an application, the law library should have a sign-up sheet to request a commutation application. At the end of the month, the list of requests is forwarded to the Pardon and Parole Board. Copies are then distributed to the facilities based on the requests from the sign-in sheet. If an application is required immediately, the Department of Corrections may charge an inmate .25 cents per page or $4.50 for the application. The Pardon and Parole Board cannot waive this fee. Another option to obtain an application is for a family member to print a copy from the Pardon and Parole Board's website, and mail the application to the inmate. A copy of the commutation application should be available in the law library within the facility for review prior to requesting an application so an inmate may see the required information in the application.

Anyone can assist an inmate in filling out an application.

The commutation application is detailed and requires a substantial amount of information due to the serious nature of the request. All questions require a response.

No. Parole investigators and case managers cannot advise an applicant regarding completion of a commutation application

On average, a commutation application will take six (6) months to process. If an application is incomplete, an inmate or the attorney, if retained, will be notified and the application will not move forward until the incomplete information is provided to the Pardon and Parole Board. Once the application is determined to be complete, an applicant will be placed on the next available docket for an initial review and study by the Board. If an applicant is passed to the Stage Two hearing, a parole investigator will complete a report. A commutation investigation takes approximately 90 days. Then, the application is then placed on the next available docket for a Stage Two hearing.

The application must be mailed to the Pardon and Parole Board at 4345 N. Lincoln Blvd., Suite 1082, Oklahoma City, OK 73105.

Yes, the applicant or attorney, if retained, should keep a copy of the application. Denied applications are not returned. An open records request may be made for a copy of the application which will be provided at .25 cents per page. Payment must be made before the copy is provided.

No, the Pardon and Parole Board does not send notice that an application was received. Sending a packet certified mail is the only method to ensure that it was delivered. Case managers notify inmates of a Stage II hearing date.

The application will not be processed until it is complete. If the application is not complete, the applicant will be notified about the missing information, along with a deadline to provide the missing information.

Board Hearing

The Pardon and Parole Board utilizes a two-stage process for commutations which are the initial review and a Stage Two hearing. The inmate will not receive a personal appearance during the initial review. The initial review and study of the application will determine if the application should be passed to Stage Two hearing. The Stage Two hearing involves an investigation and further consideration, and a personal appearance before the Board.

If a favorable vote is received at the initial review, the application is passed to a Stage Two hearing. During the Stage Two hearing, the inmate will have a personal appearance before the Pardon and Parole Board via video conferencing. The Stage Two hearing is an open meeting and family and friends may attend the Stage Two hearing; however, only two (2) persons can go before the Pardon and Parole Board and only one (1) is allowed to speak to the Board for five (5) minutes. 

When a commutation has been placed on a docket, an inmate will be notified by the case manager. 

The Board meets once per month.

There is no time limit on how long the Governor has to respond to a commutation. 

Yes, the Pardon and Parole Board looks at all cases for which an inmate is ordered to serve time in the physical custody of the Department of Corrections. Applications should contain a list of all cases for which commutation is being sought. Only cases contained in the application may be considered for commutation.

Neither the Board nor the Governor is required to give reasons for their decisions. 

A new application may be submitted three (3) years from the last date of denial, once there has been a statutory change in the penalty for the crime, or upon the Governor’s recommendation.

The inmate can find out the results of the commutation review and/or hearing from the case manager. An inmate's family can find out the results of an application by visiting the Pardon and Parole Board's website, or by calling the Pardon and Parole Board at 405-521-6600 on the Tuesday the week following the Board meeting.

Last Modified on Jun 11, 2024
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