Certificate of Rehabilitation (Penal Code Sections 4852.01, 4852.21)

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A Certificate of Rehabilitation is a petition requesting that the court declare that a person convicted of a felony which carried a prison sentence is now rehabilitated.  A granted Certificate of Rehabilitation is automatically forwarded to the Governor of California as an Application for Pardon. A granted Certificate does not guarantee that a Pardon will be granted.

Eligibility requirements:

  1. At least 7 years (10 years in some cases) must have passed since discharge from parole or completion of sentence, whichever is later; and
  2. After completion of the sentence or discharge from parole, you must have lived an honest and upright life, and fully complied with all laws; and
  3. You must have continuously lived in California for the last 5 years; and
  4. Either have been sent to prison or received a Penal Code section 1203.4 dismissal.

Misdemeanor offenses are ineligible unless the offense required sex registration.

What the certificate DOES:

  1. Relieve some sex offenders of duty to register.
  2. Enhance potential for obtaining state licensing.
  3. Serve as documentation of rehabilitation to present to an employer.
  4. Automatic application for Governor's Pardon.

What the certificate DOES NOT DO:

  1. Dismiss, erase, or seal the conviction
  2. Prevent the conviction from being used as a prior conviction.
  3. Allow the person to answer on an employment application that he/she has no conviction record.
  4. Restore the right to vote because this right automatically restores when your parole or probation has been completed.
  5. Restore the right to own or possess a firearm.
For information about this relief and how to apply, see our Certificate of Rehabilitation Self-Help Packet.