In the state of South Carolina, applying for a pardon can be a lengthy and difficult process, many elements of which can prove difficult to navigate.
But overall, there are three main components that are necessary for completing a Pardon Application, including written letters of support, information from the applicant, and payment of the application fee.
Any inmate, probationer, or parolee who is applying for a pardon in the state can request the application in writing or by calling the SCDPPPS Central Office:
Paroles, Pardons and Rehabilitative Services
Attn: Pardon Application Processing
293 Greystone Blvd./ Columbia, SC, 29210
P.O. Box 207 Columbia, SC, 29202
A printable copy of the application form is also available in PDF format.
When filling out the application, individuals must list the name, address as well as home and work telephone numbers of those submitting letters of support for the pardon. Each letter of support must be signed, recently dated within 6 months, and attached to the application.
Fees for the process
There is a $100 non-refundable fee in the form of a money order or cashier’s check for the application process that’s made payable to "The South Carolina Department of Probation, Parole and Pardon Services."
In addition, under the South Carolina Code of Laws (17-25-322), any offender cannot be granted a pardon until all restitution is paid in full. That’s important information for any applicant to understand prior to submitting an application to begin the process of seeking a pardon.
Timeline and eligibility
The pardon process can be lengthy - on average it takes 7-9 months from the time the paperwork is received until a hearing date is scheduled.
But not everyone is eligible for a pardon. Probationers can be considered any time after discharge from supervision, provided that they have paid restitution in full. For parolees, eligibility includes applying any time after successfully completing 5 years under supervision, any time after the discharge date after completing the maximum parole period as well as full restitution being paid.
Anyone discharged from a sentence can be considered anytime after they’re discharged, so long that all restitution has been paid.
Meanwhile, for inmates, proof of “the most extraordinary circumstances” is necessary before they can be considered for a pardon. That is according to the state of South Carolina. The Board then decides based on the submission of proof and whether the evidence is sufficient. Restitution also needs to be paid in full.
Civil rights restoration
If approved for a pardon, civil rights restorations include:
- The right to vote
- The right to register to vote
- The right to hold public office
- The right to testify without having the fact of the conviction introduced for impeachment purposes
- The right to serve on a jury
An attorney can guide you through the entire process
On paper, the process of securing a pardon might seem easy. Still, all it takes is one little mistake or oversight in your application to sabotage your chances of receiving a pardon hearing. As such, it's critical that you make sure all the application requirements are completely satisfied.
As a former assistant solicitor in Richland County, attorney Matt Bodman is uniquely qualified to answer your questions and help you navigate your pardon request. He understands all the nuances of South Carolina law and realizes how important it is for ex-offenders to restore their civil rights and receive closure after paying their debt to society.