A Presidential Pardon is important for someone who has committed a crime because the president has the unique ability to override the justice system, release anyone he chooses from paying a fine, and return a person to the state of innocence he had before he ever committed a crime. The power to pardon is left solely to the discretion of the president, and cannot be reviewed or overturned by any of the other branches of government. The President gets to "forgive" people from their crimes, or let them escape the rest of their criminal sentences. In other words, the president can let criminals out of jail and release criminals from their judicial sentences. In the United States, the President has the ability to pardon people only for federal crimes. This means that if someone is found guilty of breaking a federal law- like securities law or tax law- the president can pardon that person. If someone broke a state law, on the other hand, only the governor can pardon the criminal.In most cases, the Justice Department suggests that convicted criminals wait at least five years before applying for a Presidential Pardon. The president can also pardon people on his own, even if they didn't request a pardon or don't even want one! These pardons can be made at any time, sometimes even before the criminal has served a single day in jail. Even if a criminal is pardoned, though, this doesn't mean the criminal is now considered to be innocent of the crime. A pardon just means you don't have to submit to the rest of your punishment. Pardoned criminals still have a crime on their records.