Robert Downey Jr. pardoned for past drug conviction after paying 'his debt to society'

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Jerry Brown Pardons Robert Downey Jr. For 1996 Drug Conviction


Merry Christmas indeed, Iron Man.

Robert Downey Jr. has been officially pardoned for a 1996 drug conviction. The then 31-year-old actor was arrested in Los Angeles after authorities found heroin, cocaine, and a pistol in his car. After violating his parole for that arrest, Downey spent nearly a year in prison.

Now, the 50-year-old actor has been pardoned, along with 91 other people, by California Governor Jerry Brown.

To see more of Robert Downey Jr., scroll through the gallery below:

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Robert Downey Jr.
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Robert Downey Jr. pardoned for past drug conviction after paying 'his debt to society'
Actor Robert Downey Jr. (R) and his wife, producer Susan Downey, attend at the BAFTA Los Angeles Jaguar Britannia Awards, October 30, 2014 at The Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, California. . AFP PHOTO / ROBYN BECK (Photo credit should read ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images)
Actor Robert Downey Jr. (R) poses belly-to-belly with his wife, producer Susan Downey, at the BAFTA Los Angeles Jaguar Britannia Awards, October 30, 2014 at The Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, California. . AFP PHOTO / ROBYN BECK (Photo credit should read ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images)
Actor Robert Downey Jr. (R) poses belly-to-belly with his wife, producer Susan Downey, at the BAFTA Los Angeles Jaguar Britannia Awards, October 30, 2014 at The Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, California. . AFP PHOTO / ROBYN BECK (Photo credit should read ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images)
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - OCTOBER 01: Actor Robert Downey Jr. and producer/wife Susan Downey arrive for the Premiere Of Warner Bros. Pictures And Village Roadshow Pictures' 'The Judge' held at AMPAS Samuel Goldwyn Theater on October 1, 2014 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Albert L. Ortega/Getty Images)
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - OCTOBER 01: Actor Robert Downey Jr. and producer/wife Susan Downey arrive for the Premiere Of Warner Bros. Pictures And Village Roadshow Pictures' 'The Judge' held at AMPAS Samuel Goldwyn Theater on October 1, 2014 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Albert L. Ortega/Getty Images)
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - OCTOBER 01: (EDITORS NOTE: This image has been converted from color to B/W) Actor Robert Downey Jr. and his wife Producer Susan Downey arrive for the Warner Bros. Pictures and Village Roadshow Pictures' Premiere of 'the Judge' at AMPAS Samuel Goldwyn Theater on October 1, 2014 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)
TORONTO, ON - SEPTEMBER 04: Actor Robert Downey Jr. and wife Susan Downey attend 'The Judge' premiere held at at Roy Thomson Hall on September 4, 2014 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Tommaso Boddi/WireImage)
HOLLYWOOD, CA- APRIL 24: Actor Robert Downey Jr. and wife Susan Downey arrive at the 'Iron Man 3' - Los Angeles Premiere at the El Capitan Theatre on April 24, 2013 in Hollywood, California.(Photo by Jeffrey Mayer/WireImage)
HOLLYWOOD, CA - APRIL 24: Actor Robert Downey, Jr. and wife Susan Downey arrive at the 'Iron Man 3' - Los Angeles Premiere at the El Capitan Theatre on April 24, 2013 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Allen Berezovsky/WireImage)
HOLLYWOOD, CA - APRIL 24: Actor Robert Downey Jr. (L) and his wife Susan Downey attend the U.S. Premiere of Marvel's Iron Man 3 hosted by Audi at the El Capitan Theatre on April 24, 2013 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Charley Gallay/Getty Images for Audi)
HOLLYWOOD, CA - APRIL 24: Actor Robert Downey Jr. (L) and his wife, Susan Downey, attend the premiere of Walt Disney Pictures' 'Iron Man 3' at the El Capitan Theatre on April 24, 2013 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Imeh Akpanudosen/Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD, CA - APRIL 24: Actor Robert Downey Jr. (R) and wife producer Susan Downey attend the premiere of Walt Disney Pictures' 'Iron Man 3' at the El Capitan Theatre on April 24, 2013 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by David Livingston/Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD, CA - APRIL 11: Actor Robert Downey Jr. and his wife Susan Downey arrive at the premiere of Marvel Studios' 'The Avengers' at the El Capitan Theatre on April 11, 2012 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Jason Merritt/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 13: Robert Downey Jr. and wife Susan Downey arrive at the 25th Annual American Cinematheque Award Honoring Robert Downey Jr. at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on October 14, 2011 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Gregg DeGuire/FilmMagic)
LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 13: Robert Downey Jr. and wife Susan Downey arrive at the 25th Annual American Cinematheque Award Honoring Robert Downey Jr. at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on October 14, 2011 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Gregg DeGuire/FilmMagic)
Actor Robert Downey Jr. and wife, Producer Susan Downey arrive at the premiere of 'Unknown” in Los Angeles, California on February 16, 2011. AFP PHOTO / GABRIEL BOUYS (Photo credit should read GABRIEL BOUYS/AFP/Getty Images)
Actor Robert Downey Jr. and wife, Producer Susan Downey arrive at the premiere of 'Unknown” in Los Angeles, California on February 16, 2011. AFP PHOTO / GABRIEL BOUYS (Photo credit should read GABRIEL BOUYS/AFP/Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD, CA - OCTOBER 28: Robert Downey Jr. and wife Susan Downey arrive at the Los Angeles Premiere of 'Due Date' at the Grauman's Chinese Theater on October 28, 2010 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Gregg DeGuire/FilmMagic)
Actor Robert Downey Jr. and wife producer Susan Downey arrive at the Los Angeles Premiere 'Iron Man 2' at the El Capitan Theatre on April 26, 2010 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Jon Kopaloff/FilmMagic)
Actor Robert Downey Jr and his wife, executive producer Susan Downey (R) arrive for the world premiere of Iron Man 2 at the El Capitan Theater n the Hollywood section of Los Angeles on April 26, 2010. AFP PHOTO / ROBYN BECK (Photo credit should read ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images)
Actor Robert Downey Jr. (L) and wife Susan Downey attend the 82nd Annual Academy Awards held at the Kodak Theater on March 7, 2010 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Dan MacMedan/WireImage)
HOLLYWOOD - MARCH 07: Actor Robert Downey Jr. and wife Susan Downey arrives at the 82nd Annual Academy Awards held at Kodak Theatre on March 7, 2010 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Jason Merritt/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - MARCH 02: Robert Downey Jr. (R) and his wife Susan Downey (L) attend a game between the Indiana Pacers and the Los Angeles Lakers at Staples Center on March 2, 2010 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Noel Vasquez/Getty Images)
MADRID, SPAIN - JANUARY 13: Actor Robert Downey Jr and wife producer Susan Downey attends 'Sherlock Holmes' premiere at Kinepolis cinema on January 13, 2010 in Madrid, Spain. (Photo by Carlos Alvarez/Getty Images)
MADRID, SPAIN - JANUARY 13: Actor Robert Downey Jr and wife producer Susan Downey attends 'Sherlock Holmes' premiere at Kinepolis cinema on January 13, 2010 in Madrid, Spain. (Photo by Carlos Alvarez/Getty Images)
NEW YORK - DECEMBER 17: Actor Robert Downey Jr. and his wife Susan Downey attend the premiere of 'Sherlock Holmes' at Alice Tully Hall, Lincoln Center on December 17, 2009 in New York, New York. (Photo by Bryan Bedder/Getty Images)
WESTWOOD, LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 18: Actor Robert Downey Jr. (R) and wife Susan Downey arrive at the 2009 Los Angeles Film Festival's Opening Night Premiere of 'Paper Man' held at the Mann Village Theatre on June 18, 2009 in Westwood, Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jesse Grant/WireImage)
LOS ANGELES - MARCH 15: Actor Robert Downey Jr. kisses his wife Susan during a game between the Dallas Mavericks and the Los Angeles Lakers at Staples Center on March 15, 2009 in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2009 NBAE (Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images)
PARK CITY, UT - JANUARY 21: Actor Robert Downey Jr. and wife Susan Levin attend the Creative Coalition party for festival film 'A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints' at the Racquet Club during the Sundance Film Festival on January 21, 2006 in Park City, Utah. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Getty Images)
TORONTO - SEPTEMBER 08: Actor Robert Downey Jr. and wife Susan Levin attend the Toronto International Film Festival premiere after party for 'Kiss Kiss Bang Bang' at PUR September 08, 2005 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Getty Images)
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"By completion of his sentence and good conduct in the community of his residence since his release, Robert John Downey, Jr. has paid his debt to society and earned a full and unconditional pardon," the pardon reads.

The news should come as a relief to Downey, who says he has been drug-free since 2003 and has made it clear that he wants to move on from that time in his life.

While promoting Marvel's Avengers: Age of Ultron earlier this year, the actor walked out of an interview with UK's Channel 4 News when he was repeatedly questioned about the "dark period" in his life.

"I just wish I'd left sooner," Downey later said. "What I have to do in the future is give myself permission to say, 'That is more than likely a syphilitic parasite, and I need to distance myself from this clown.'"

To see how Downey has transformed through the years, scroll through the gallery below:

22 PHOTOS
Sarah Jessica Parker and Robert Downey Jr.
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Robert Downey Jr. pardoned for past drug conviction after paying 'his debt to society'
LONDON - MAY 10: Robert Downey Jr. and Sarah Jessica Parker attend the London premiere of 'L.A. Story' on May 10, 1991 in London, Great Britain. (Photo by Tom Wargacki/WireImage)
CENTURY CITY, CA - OCTOBER 3: Actress Sarah Jessica Parker and actor Robert Downey, Jr. attend the 'Avalon' Century City Premiere on October 3, 1990 at Cineplex Odeon Century Plaza Cinemas in Century City, California. (Photo by Ron Galella, Ltd./WireImage)
Sarah Jessica Parker & Robert Downey Jr during 1990 MTV Video Music Awards in Los Angeles, California, United States. (Photo by Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic, Inc)
Sarah Jessica Parker & Robert Downey Jr (Photo by Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic)
HOLLYWOOD - AUGUST 29: Actor Robert Downey, Jr. and actress Sarah Jessica Parker attend Shirley MacLaine's One-Woman Show 'Out There Tonight' Opening Night Performance on August 29, 1990 at the Pantages Theatre in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Ron Galella, Ltd./WireImage)
HOLLYWOOD - AUGUST 29: Actor Robert Downey, Jr. and actress Sarah Jessica Parker attend Shirley MacLaine's One-Woman Show 'Out There Tonight' Opening Night Performance on August 29, 1990 at the Pantages Theatre in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Ron Galella, Ltd./WireImage)
Robert Downey Jr. and Sarah Jessica Parker during 'Out There Tonight' Opening Night at Pantages Theatre in Hollywood, California, United States. (Photo by Jim Smeal/WireImage)
HOLLYWOOD - AUGUST 29: Actor Robert Downey, Jr. and actress Sarah Jessica Parker attend Shirley MacLaine's One-Woman Show 'Out There Tonight' Opening Night Performance on August 29, 1990 at the Pantages Theatre in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Ron Galella, Ltd./WireImage)
UNITED STATES - AUGUST 01: Robert Downey jr. Sarah Jessica Parker (Photo by The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images)
Sarah Jessica Parker and Robert Downey Jr. (Photo by Barry King/WireImage)
Robert Downey Jr. and Sarah Jessica Parker in Santa Monica, California circa 1990 in Santa Monica, California (Photo by Jean-Paul Aussenard/WireImage)
WESTWOOD, CA - JULY 2: Actor Robert Downey, Jr. and actress Sarah Jessica Parker attend the 'Die Hard 2' Westwood Premiere on July 2, 1990 at Avco Centre Cinemas in Westwood, California. (Photo by Ron Galella, Ltd./WireImage)
MALIBU, CA - JUNE 24: Actress Sarah Jessica Parker and actor Robert Downey, Jr. attend the Second Annual Earth Communications Office (ECO) Conference Presentation of 'The Role of Biosphere 2 in Relation to Biosphere 1' on June 24, 1990 at Rambla Pacifico in Malibu, California. (Photo by Ron Galella, Ltd./WireImage)
LOS ANGELES - JUNE 14: Actress Sarah Jessica Parker and actor Robert Downey, Jr. attend the ABC Television Affiliates Party on June 14, 1990 at Century Plaza Hotel in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Ron Galella, Ltd./WireImage)
Sarah Jessica Parker and Robert Downey Jr. (Photo by Ron Galella/WireImage)
SANTA MONICA, CA - JUNE 12: Actor Robert Downey, Jr. and actress Sarah Jessica Parker attend Stanley K. Sheinbaum's 70th Birthday Celebration on June 12, 1990 at Santa Monica Air Center in Santa Monica, California. (Photo by Ron Galella, Ltd./WireImage)
Robert Downey Jr. and Sarah Jessica Parker in Santa Monica, California circa 1990 (Photo by Jean-Paul Aussenard/WireImage)
Robert Downey Jr and Sarah Jessica Parker during Stanley K. Sheinbaum 70th Birthday to Benefit Human Rights at Santa Monica Air Center in Santa Monica, California, United States. (Photo by Ron Galella, Ltd./WireImage)
UNITED STATES - AUGUST 01: Robert Downey jr. Sarah Jessica Parker (Photo by The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images)
Robert Downey Jr. and Sarah Jessica Parker (Photo by Jim Smeal/WireImage)
Robert Downey Jr. and Sarah Jessica Parker (Photo by Jim Smeal/WireImage)
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