Hello and thank you for contacting us. This is Dwayne B. and I’m an expert here and looking forward to assisting you today. If at any point any of my answers aren’t clear please don’t hesitate to ask for clarification. Also, I can only answer the questions you specifically ask and based on the facts that you give so please be sure that you ask the questions you want to ask and provide all necessary facts.
In South Dakota the pardon process is also known as "Executive Clemency" and the process starts with an application through the Governors Office to the Board of Pardons and Paroles.
The Board makes an initial determination as to whether the application will qualify the person for a full pardon/clemency hearing. It will consider factors like age, the nature of the offense, When you were convicted, your marital status, whether you are employed, What efforts have been made to rehabilitate yourself, whether you have other criminal issues, and how you did on probation or parole.
If you make it past this initial inquiry, a hearing is then held before the full Board of Pardons and Parole. This hearing results in a recommendation which the Governor then considers.
While you can apply for a pardon yourself, your chances increase if you use an attorney who is familiar with the process since they will be able to tailor your application to meet what they know the specific members of the Board want to hear.
If you do decide to try it yourself, the forms you need are at this link.
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