Certificate of Rehabilitation - “Period of Rehabilitation”

A person convicted of a felony who is committed to state prison or county jail pursuant to Penal Code section 1170(h), may generally file a petition for a Certificate of Rehabilitation and Pardon. (Cal. Penal Code section 4852.01(a)). A person that has been convicted of a felony or a misdemeanor violation of any sex offense specified in Penal Code section 290 may also petition for a Certificate of Rehabilitation and Pardon under certain circumstances. (Cal. Penal Code section 4852.01(b)).

Depending on the underlying offense, a person petitioning for a Certificate of Rehabilitation must generally wait a specified “period of rehabilitation” prior to being eligible to petition for the relief. (Cal. Penal Code section 4852.03). This period of rehabilitation commences upon the discharge of the petitioner from custody or upon his or her release on parole, postrelease community supervision, mandatory supervision, or probation - whichever is sooner. (Cal. Penal Code section 4852.03(a)). Depending on the offense, this period of rehabilitation can be up to ten (10) years. (Cal. Penal Code section 4852.03(a)).

However, according to Penal Code section 4852.22, a trial court hearing an application for a Certificate of Rehabilitation before the applicable “period of rehabilitation” has elapsed may grant the application if the court, in its discretion, believes the relief serves the interests of justice.
Once a person is granted a Certificate of Rehabilitation, the Governor automatically receives an application for Pardon and it is in Governor’s discretion to grant the full Pardon.

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