What is a Pardon?
A pardon forgives you from guilt and frees you from punishment. The Maine governor has the constitutional right to grant a pardon following a criminal conviction or juvenile adjudication.
Who is Eligible for a Pardon?
You are eligible to apply for a pardon if it has been five years since you completed your sentence. This includes any probation periods.
You are not eligible for a pardon if you are seeking a pardon for one criminal conviction while you have one or more additional serious criminal convictions that are not included in your petition.
Petitions for the following criminal convictions or purposes are not eligible for a pardon:
- Operating under the influence;
- To carry a firearm to hunt or otherwise;
- To rectify alleged errors in the judicial system; or
- To remove your name from the state’s Sex Offender Registry.
The Governor’s Board on Executive Clemency may waive these guidelines in exceptional cases.
What Effect Does a Pardon Have?
A pardon does not erase your criminal record, but it does consider the conviction to be “confidential criminal history record information.” The pardoned conviction is considered a non-conviction and will not be available to the public or show up on a standard background check. This Information will only be accessible under limited circumstances such as law enforcement purposes or for the District Attorney’s office.
Information related to a conditional pardon may still be released to the public.
When Can I Apply for a Pardon?
You can apply for a pardon five years after completing your sentence. This includes any probation periods.
If your request for a pardon has been denied, you must wait one year before reapplying.
How Do I Apply for a Pardon?
Here are the five steps to apply for a pardon:
- Complete the "State of Maine Petition for Executive Clemency" form. To access the petition, visit the State of Maine's Department of Corrections (DOC) website here: General Information Regarding Executive Clemency. Make sure to identify each conviction you are seeking a pardon for.
- Get a certified copy of the indictment or complaint, judgment and commitment form, and docket sheet from the court you were convicted in. Complete this step for each conviction that you are seeking a pardon for. If you are not able to get these documents, have the Clerk of the Courts certify in writing that the documents are unavailable.
- Get the petition notarized.
- Make copies of all the required documents. Keep one set for yourself.
- Mail the petition along with all required documents to this address:
Maine Department of Corrections
Division of Adult Community Corrections
State House Station 111
Augusta, Maine 04333
Once the DOC receives your completed petition and required documents, it will request a full driving record from the Bureau of Motor Vehicles. The DOC will ask the Maine State Police (MSP) State Bureau of Identification (SBI) to conduct a preliminary background check on you for the Governor’s Board on Executive Clemency. Once the background check is completed, the Board will review the petition and will either grant or deny a request for a hearing. You will be notified in writing of the Board’s decision. The Board’s decision to grant a hearing is final. There is no right to appeal the decision or to ask for reconsideration.
More Information About Pardons
For more information about pardons, call DOCS at (207) 287-4340 or visit the website here: DOC’s website.
Questions about pardons may also be directed to this DOCS address:
Department of Corrections
Division of Adult Community Services
111 State House Station
Augusta, Maine 04333