I was pardoned. Do I still need an expunction?

Receiving a pardon from the governor can help you regain your rights and build a new life for yourself. Unfortunately, your efforts to find a new job or a place to live might still run into problems if an employer or a landlord finds out a court has convicted you of a crime. Despite your pardon, you could find resuming a normal life is not as easy as you had hoped.

The problem is that your criminal record remains available for employers to find when conducting a background check on you. The Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles provides some information on how far pardons go in restoring your rights and what you should do to have your criminal record expunged.

Pardons and expunctions

Receiving a pardon does not automatically result in an expunction of your criminal record. However, it does make you eligible for an expunction. Upon receiving a pardon, you should seek out an expunction from the right state court. If successful, you can expunge all arrest records that relate to your conviction. So when an employer or a landlord conducts a background check, they will not find out about the conviction that led to your pardon.

Pardons and your rights

Getting an expunction as quickly as possible is important because receiving a pardon does not ensure that you will have every job opportunity that you would have had before your conviction. It is true that a pardon will restore many of your rights, like your right to serve on a jury, to act as an estate administrator or executor, and to hold a public office. If the state pardons you of a felony, you may once again vote in an election.

However, receiving a pardon does not mean you are eligible to serve as a licensed peace officer. A pardon may also not help you if you want to receive a license for certain professions. A state licensing board might deny you a license even after your pardon. So receiving an expunction could help keep your job opportunities as open as possible.