How Do I Restore My Civil Rights?

By Jonathan Blecher on May 22, 2018

When someone is convicted of a crime in Florida, they can face various penalties, such as fines, incarceration, community service, probation or parole and more. Beyond the criminal penalties, they will have to contend with other negative consequences. For example, Section 943.053 of the Florida Statutes makes adult criminal records public information, unless the defendant’s records have been sealed or expunged – nobody likes their criminal records being public.

Restoration of Civil Rights

Another issue is civil rights – the ability to vote, serve on a jury and own a firearm. With certain convictions, the defendant’s civil rights are stripped until they are restored. If your civil rights have been taken away from you because of a criminal conviction, I recommend getting your civil rights restored as soon as you are eligible.

Requirements for civil rights restoration:

  • You must have completed your sentence, including probation.
  • You cannot owe restitution to any victim.
  • You were not convicted of certain serious offenses.
  • It has been at least 5 years since you completed your sentence and you have not been arrested for any new offenses.

Note: If you have been convicted of one or more serious offenses, you will have to wait seven years before you can seek to have your civil rights restored and you will have to have a hearing before the Clemency Board. I can help you determine if you have to wait five or seven years.

Convicted criminals have the right to apply for civil rights restoration. In order to do this, defendants must apply to the Clemency Board to seek what’s called a Restoration of Civil Rights. Meaning, the right to serve on a jury and vote. However, this process does not include asking to have one’s right to use or possess firearms restored, nor does it relieve sex offenders from their obligation to register as a sex offender.

Related: Can a Conviction Bar Me from Owning a Firearm?

“What if I want to restore my firearm rights?” In this case, you must ask the Clemency Board for the Specific Authority to Own, Possess, or Use Firearms. Because of the federal laws regarding firearm possession, the Clemency Board will not restore the following individuals’ firearm rights:

  • Individuals with federal felony convictions.
  • Individuals who were convicted of a felony in another state.

To learn more about restoring your civil rights or firearm privileges in Miami, contact my firm today. You can learn more about my credentials by clicking here.

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