South Dakota Pardon/Expungement Process

The State of South Dakota offers only executive clemency.  There is a waiting period of five years before an application for an Exceptional Pardon may be completed. The Board of Pardons and Paroles handles all investigations of pardon applicants and makes recommendations to the Governor.

An Exceptional Pardon occurs if you have been out of incarceration for five years or more, have only been convicted of one felony, and your only felony was not punishable by life imprisonment.

There is a two-stage hearing process for pardons, the first before a panel in which it will be decided if the application should continue to a second/final hearing.  In the final hearing, granted, the full board will decide upon their recommendation to the governor.

South Dakota law requires, in any case but that of an Exceptional Pardon, that for thirty days prior to the hearing a notice must be published;  this notice must be placed in any newspaper within the county where the offense occurred, detailing the name of the applicant, offense committed, time served, and time of conviction. It will be published once each week for three consecutive weeks.

All applicants presented for review and recommendation will receive notice of the Board’s decision within ten days after the final hearing.