You may have missed this story last year out of Michigan, where an attorney with political connections received a pardon from the state's governor. In December, Alan Gocha Jr. was pardoned for his 2007 conviction of driving under the influence by Governor Rick Snyder.
In response to that unusual move, another Michigan attorney has created a website that specifically caters to gubernatorial pardons for drunk driving convictions in the state. Patrick Barone, whose firm represents hundreds of accused impaired drivers each year, created PardonMyDUI.com to create sort of an information clearinghouse for Great Lakes State residents who have been convicted of DUI but want to seek a pardon from the state's highest office.
Here in Washington, a process also exists for people who have been found guilty of DUI or any other crime to have their offenses pardoned by the governor's office. So if you have a DUI on your record, should you try to seek a gubernatorial pardon?
The good news is: you're perfectly within your rights to do so, and there is no tangible penalty for failing to obtain a pardon. The bad news is: governor's pardons in Washington are extremely rare. Only about three to six pardons are approved on average in any given year.
But if you're determined to try, you can download a pardon petition from the Washington governor's office website, obtain a copy of your judgment and sentence order from the court where you were convicted, and explain in writing why you feel you should be pardoned for your DUI (this is arguably the most important part of your application). Getting letters of recommendation from others is also a wise move.
When you send your completed petition to the Washington State Clemency and Pardons Board, a committee from that body will review it and determine whether a public hearing is in order. You'll have an opportunity to testify during that hearing, but so will prosecutors, police officers, and any victims that may have been impacted by your crime. The board will then send a recommendation to the governor, who will then approve or deny your pardon request.
For more information on this process, contact the Law Offices of Kevin Trombold at 206-971-0067.