Service & Results.

nyc criminal lawyers over 30 years of experienceWe Know How To Win Cases

Spodek Law Group handles tough cases
nationwide, that demand excellence.

Get Free Consultation

Faced 5+ Years in Prison

People Vs Joseph Amico

Covered by NYDaily News. Las Vegas man accused of threatening a prominent attorney and making vile remarks.

Faced 10+ Years in Prison

People Vs. Anna Sorokin

Covered by New York Times, and other outlets. Fake heiress accused of conning the city’s wealthy, and has an HBO special being made about her.

Faced 3+ Years in Prison

People Vs. Genevieve Sabourin

Accused of stalking Alec Baldwin. The case garnered nationwide attention, with USAToday, NYPost, and other media outlets following it closely.

Faced Potential Charges

Ghislaine Maxwell Juror

Juror who prompted calls for new Ghislaine Maxwell trial turns to lawyer who defended Anna Sorokin.

Why Choose Us

Clients can use our portal to track the status of their case, stay in touch with us, upload documents, and more.

Regardless of the type of situation you're facing, our attorneys are here to help you get quality representation.

We can setup consultations in person, over Zoom, or over the phone to help you. Bottom line, we're here to help you win your case.

Law in the Media

View All

Meet Todd Spodek


The Spodek Law Group understands how delicate high-profile cases can be, and has a strong track record of getting positive outcomes. Our lawyers service a clientele that is nationwide. With offices in both LA and NYC, and cases all across the country - Spodek Law Group is a top tier law firm.

Todd Spodek is a second generation attorney with immense experience. He has many years of experience handling 100’s of tough and hard to win trials. He’s been featured on major news outlets, such as New York Post, Newsweek, Fox 5 New York, South China Morning Post, Insider.com, and many others.

In 2022, Netflix released a series about one of Todd’s clients: Anna Delvey/Anna Sorokin.

Why Clients Choose Spodek Law Group

The reason is simple: clients want white glove service, and lawyers who can win. Every single client who works with the Spodek Law Group is aware that the attorney they hire could drastically change the outcome of their case. Hiring the Spodek Law Group means you’re taking your future seriously. Our lawyers handle cases nationwide, ranging from NYC to LA. Our philosophy is fair and simple: our nyc criminal lawyers only take on clients who we know will benefit from our services.

We’re selective about the clients we work with, and only take on cases we know align with our experience – and where we can make a difference. This is different from other law firms who are not invested in your success nor care about your outcome.

If you have a legal issue, call us for a consultation.
We are available 24/7, to help you with any – and all, challenges you face.

How to Obtain a Federal Pardon: Requirements and Eligibility Explained

By Spodek Law Group | October 19, 2023
(Last Updated On: October 20, 2023)

Last Updated on: 20th October 2023, 09:34 am


How to Obtain a Federal Pardon: Requirements and Eligibility Explained

Getting a federal pardon can be a long and complicated process, but it may be worth it if you meet the eligibility requirements. A pardon essentially forgives you for a federal crime and restores some of your rights. This article will walk you through everything you need to know about getting a presidential pardon.

What is a Federal Pardon?

A federal pardon is a form of clemency that represents forgiveness for a federal crime. It is granted by the President of the United States. A pardon does not erase or expunge the crime from your record, but it does restore some of your rights that were lost as a result of the conviction. Some key things to know about a federal pardon:

  • A pardon forgives the punishment for a federal crime, but does not mean you were not guilty.
  • It does not expunge or erase the conviction from your criminal record.
  • It restores your right to vote, serve on a jury and hold public office.
  • It makes it easier to get licensed for certain jobs.
  • It does not restore your right to own a firearm if that was lost as a result of the conviction.

The President can only pardon federal offenses, not state crimes. For state crimes, you would need to apply to the pardon board or governor in your state.

Requirements for a Pardon

There are a few key requirements you must meet to be eligible for a presidential pardon:

  1. You must have completed your sentence at least 5 years ago. This includes any time on probation or parole.
  2. There cannot be any pending charges or investigations against you.
  3. You must demonstrate good moral character and a history of being a law-abiding citizen since your conviction.
  4. You must accept responsibility for the offense and express remorse.

Meeting the minimum 5 year waiting period does not guarantee you will get a pardon. The more time that has passed since the offense, and the more evidence you can provide of rehabilitation, the better your chances.

How to Apply for a Pardon

Here are the steps for applying for a presidential pardon:

  1. Obtain the application from the Office of the Pardon Attorney. You can request the form by mail, over the phone or download it from their website.
  2. Complete the application providing detailed information about your offense, conviction, sentence, and efforts towards rehabilitation.
  3. Submit the application along with copies of all court documents related to your conviction.
  4. Provide written recommendations from friends, employers, clergy, and other community members who can vouch for your good character.
  5. Pass an FBI background check – you will be fingerprinted as part of this process.
  6. Wait for a review of your application. The Office of the Pardon Attorney will investigate your case and make a recommendation to the President.
  7. If approved, receive a signed pardon from the President granting you clemency.

This process can take anywhere from 1-3 years in most cases. There is no appeals process if your application is denied – you would have to reapply.

Factors That Improve Your Chances

There are a few things you can do to better your chances of getting approved for a pardon:

  • Wait as long as possible after completion of sentence – 10+ years is ideal.
  • Show a clean record with no additional crimes.
  • Get involved in charity or community service.
  • Further your education or career.
  • Make positive contributions to society.
  • If possible, get the prosecutor and/or judge from your case to support the pardon.
  • Accept full responsibility and demonstrate remorse.

Essentially, you need to convince the pardon attorney and President that you are rehabilitated and deserving of a second chance. The more you can demonstrate this through your actions, the better.

Can a Pardon Be Denied?

Yes, there are a few reasons why a request for a presidential pardon may be denied:

  • You do not meet the eligibility requirements and minimum 5 year waiting period.
  • The offense is considered too severe – pardons are rare for serious crimes.
  • You have multiple convictions on your record.
  • You are unable to demonstrate remorse, rehabilitation and good character.
  • The prosecutor or judge in your case opposes the pardon.
  • There is political pressure on the President not to grant pardons.

If your pardon is denied, the only option is to wait and reapply several years later. There are no appeals. The President has full discretion when granting pardons.

Does a Pardon Clear Your Record?

No, a presidential pardon does not expunge, erase, seal, or clear the conviction from your criminal record. The conviction will still appear on a background check. What it does is forgive the punishment and restore your civil rights. Some key things to know:

  • Your criminal record will still show the conviction after a pardon.
  • Most employers will still see the conviction if they run a background check.
  • You must still disclose the conviction on job applications.
  • A pardon makes it easier to get occupational licenses.
  • You regain the right to vote, serve on a jury and hold public office.

If you want the conviction completely removed from your record, you would need to pursue expungement or record sealing through the court system. This is a separate process from a presidential pardon.

Does a Pardon Restore Gun Rights?

No, a presidential pardon does not restore your right to own or possess a firearm if this was lost as result of a federal conviction. The only way to restore your gun rights is to have your civil rights specifically reinstated by the ATF Bureau or state where the conviction occurred. You would need to apply separately for this after receiving a pardon.

Can a Pardon Be Revoked?

Yes, a presidential pardon can be revoked or “undone” if the recipient is found to have lied or misled the government about facts in their case. However, revocation is extremely rare. The US Supreme Court has upheld the President’s unconditional power to pardon, so revoking them is legally complicated. Only a handful of pardons have ever been revoked.

Famous Recipients of Pardons

Here are a few notable people who have received presidential pardons over the years:

  • Richard Nixon – Granted by President Ford in 1974 for crimes relating to the Watergate scandal.
  • Jimmy Carter – Granted by President Clinton in 1999 for a conviction of unauthorized use of government property decades prior.
  • Patty Hearst – Granted by President Carter in 1979 for bank robbery after being kidnapped.
  • Marc Rich – Controversially granted by President Clinton in 2001 for tax evasion.
  • Scooter Libby – Granted by President Trump in 2018 for leaking classified information.


Obtaining a presidential pardon is a long, detailed process with strict eligibility requirements. If you meet the qualifications and can demonstrate complete rehabilitation since your conviction, submitting an application may be worth your time. Just understand that approval is never guaranteed. With strong supporting evidence of your character, contributions, and remorse, you can hope for the best. But there are limited pardons granted each year, so patience and managing expectations is important.


Free Consultation


I was searching for a law firm with some power to help me deal with a warrant in New York . After 6 days I decided to go with Spodek Law Group. It helped that This law firm is well respected by not only the top law firms in New York , but the DA , Judge as well. I...

~Fonder Brandon

5 Stars
It was my good fortune to retain Spodek Law Group for representation for my legal needs. From the beginning, communication was prompt and thorough. Todd, Kenneth and Alex were the first people I worked with and they all made me, and my company Qumana skincare feel comfortable and confident that the team was going to work hard for me. Everything...

~A G

5 Stars
After meeting with several law firms, I chose the Spodek Law Group not only for their professionalism and experience, but for the personal attention given to me right from the initial consultation. It is important to recognize how crucial having the right legal team is when faced with potentially life altering events that impact families and the lives of loved...

~George Cherubini

Spodek Law Group

White Glove Service

We Provide Superior Service, Excellent Results, At A Level Superior To Other Criminal Defense Law Firms. Regardless Of Where Your Case Is, Nationwide, We Can Help You.
View More

Request Free Consultation

Please fill out the form below to receive a free consultation, we will respond to
your inquiry within 24-hours guaranteed.


85 Broad St 30th Floor, New York, NY 10004


get directions

Los Angeles

611 S Catalina St Suite 222, Los Angeles, CA 90005


get directions


35-37 36th St, 2nd Floor Astoria, NY 11106


get directions


195 Montague St., 14th Floor, Brooklyn, NY 11201


get directions
Call Now!