This page was designed to help our clients better understand our Florida Civil Rights Restoration service. You will find answers to the questions we are most frequently asked. If your question is related to eligibility requirements please take the free online eligibility test.
Simply click on a question to see its answer:
You lost your civil rights (right to vote, right to sit on a jury, right to hold public office), and the ability to apply for certain state-issued occupational licenses if 1) you have a federal or state felony conviction and you were a resident of the State of Florida when the offense and conviction occurred or 2) you have federal or out-of-state felony conviction and your rights have not been restored before you became a Florida resident. (F.S. 944.292; F.S. 455.213).
You are eligible to apply for restoration of your civil rights if (1) you have completed all sentences imposed and all conditions of supervision have expired or been completed, including but not limited to, imprisonment, parole, probation, community control, control release, and conditional release; (2) you have paid all restitution pursuant to a court order or civil judgment and obligations; and (3) you have no outstanding detainers or pending criminal charges. However, the waiting period varies depending on your offense and a hearing may be required. (Fla. R. Exec. Clemency 5(E), 9-10).
On March 9, 2011, the Florida Board of Executive Clemency adopted new Rules of Executive Clemency. (Fla. R. Exec. Clemency 19). Under these new rules, there are now two categories of approval for restoration of civil rights depending on the nature of the felony conviction. (Fla. R. Exec. Clemency 5(E)). The first category provides for review and approval without a hearing for those convicted of less serious offenses. To be eligible, you must be crime and arrest free for five years from the date of completion of all sentences and conditions of supervision. (Fla. R. Exec. Clemency 9). The second category includes an investigation and hearing for those convicted of more serious offenses and requires a seven-year, crime and arrest free waiting period. ((Fla. R. Exec. Clemency 10).
If you were convicted of any of the following offenses then you are not eligible under the first category, so you are subject to the seven-year waiting period and hearing/investigation requirements of the second category: murder, attempted murder, attempted felony murder, manslaughter (F.S. Chapter782); DUI manslaughter, DUI Serious Bodily Injury (F.S. 316.193); leaving the Scene of Accident involving Injury or Death; sexual battery, attempted sexual battery, unlawful sexual activity with a minor, female genital mutilation (F.S. Chapter 794); any violation of F.S. Chapter 800; lewd or lascivious offense upon or in the presence of an elderly or disabled person, attempted lewd or lascivious offense upon or in the presence of an elderly or disabled person (F.S. 825.1025); sexual performance by a child, attempted sexual performance by a child (F.S. 827.071); aggravated child abuse (F.S. 827.03) failure to register as a sexual predator (F.S. 775) or sexual offender ( F.S. 943.0435); computer pornography, transmission of computer pornography, or any crime involving a minor in violation of F.S. Chapter 847; kidnapping, attempted kidnapping, false imprisonment, or luring and enticing a child (F.S. Chapter 787); aggravated battery, attempted aggravated battery (F.S. 784.045), felony battery, domestic battery by strangulation (F.S. 784.041); robbery, carjacking, attempted carjacking, home invasion, attempted home invasion (F.S. Chapter 812); poisoning of food or water (F.S. 859.01); abuse of a dead human body (F.S. 872.06); burglary of a dwelling, first degree burglary, or attempted first degree burglary (F.S. 810.02); arson, attempted arson, or conspiracy to commit arson (F.S. 806.01); aggravated assault (F.S. 784.021); aggravated stalking (F.S. 784.048); aggravated battery, battery, or aggravated assault on a law enforcement officer or other specified officer (F.S. 784.07); u. trafficking or conspiracy to traffic in illegal substances (F.S. 893.135); all other first and second degree felonies described in F. S. Chapter 893; aircraft piracy (F.S. 860.16); unlawful throwing, placing, or discharging of a destructive device or bomb (F.S. 790.161); facilitating or furthering terrorism (F.S. 775.31); treason (F.S. 876.32); possession of a firearm by a convicted felon (F.S. 790.23) or possession of a firearm or ammunition by a violent career criminal (F.S. 790.235); bribery, misuse of public office (F.S. Chapter 838); extortion by officers of the state (F. S. 839.11); misappropriations of moneys by commissioners to make sales (F.S. 839.17); any crime committed by an elected official while in office; illegal use of explosives; RICO; exploitation of the elderly; public corruption; any felony violation of an election law; any crime designated a “dangerous crime” under F.S. 907.041; any offense committed in another jurisdiction that would be an offense listed in this paragraph if that offense had been committed in this State; or if you have been declared to be one of the following: Habitual Violent Felony Offender under F.S. 775.084(1)(b); Three-time Violent Felony Offender under F.S. 775.084(1)(c); Violent Career Criminal under F.S. 775.084; d. Prison Releasee Reoffender under F.S. 775.082(9)(a); Sexual Predator under F.S. 775.21.
If you have multiple felony convictions, your most serious offense will determine which level process you must complete. (Fla. R. Exec. Clemency 9(A)(4)).
Cases are denied for the following reasons: (1) an inaccuracy in the court or police records, (2) an inaccuracy in the application, (3) you still owe fines or restitution, or (4) you are otherwise not eligible to apply.
No. Persons who have been convicted (adjudicated guilty) of a felony are not eligible to seal or expunge their criminal history under Florida law, regardless of whether their civil rights have been restored.
No. There is no court involvement in an application to restore your civil rights.
The process can take several years because an investigation will be conducted and the Governor must approve the restoration of civil rights. The length of the process also depends on your individual circumstances.
If your case is denied under the first category without a hearing, you may immediately reapply under the second category for review with a hearing. (Fla. R. Exec. Clemency 9(B)). If your case is denied under the second category, you cannot reapply for at least two years from the date that the denial becomes final. (Fla. R. Exec. Clemency 14).
Unfortunately, we are unable to offer a money-back guarantee for our Florida civil rights restoration service, because the process involves a substantial amount of work and preparation and can sometimes require several appearances in court by our attorneys.
No. Applying for a civil rights restoration only restores the civil rights that you may have lost because of a conviction. If you have been convicted (adjudicated guilty) of a felony, then you are not eligible to seal or expunge your case under Florida law, regardless of whether civil rights have been restored.
The basic civil rights that are restored are: the right to vote, the right to serve on a jury, and the right to hold public office. In addition, restoration of civil rights may allow you to be considered for certain types of employment licenses. (See In re Florida Bd. of Bar Examiners, 341 So. 2d 503 (Fla. 1976); Lee v. Dep't of Health & Rehabilitative Servs., 518 So. 2d 364 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. 3d Dist. 1987)). The right to own, possess, or use firearms requires an application and there is a waiting period of eight years from the date sentence expired or supervision was terminated. (Fla. R. Exec. Clemency 5(D)).
Yes, when you restore your civil rights, the restoration has no effect on the conviction itself. The conviction does not go away, nor is it sealed or “expunged.” (R.J.L. v. State, 887 So. 2d 1268 (Fla. 2004)).
Yes. The conviction still remains even if all of your civil rights have been restored. (Randall v. Fla. Dep't of Law Enforcement, 791 So. 2d 1238 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. 1st Dist. 2001)).
Restoring your civil rights has no effect on the conviction itself.
Yes, this process can be used to restore voting rights if they have been lost.
Restoring your civil right(s) has no effect on the conviction itself.
No. To determine eligibility for restoration of the right to own a firearm, please see the section on Gun Rights Restoration.
In Florida, you may serve on a jury if you: 1) are a United States citizen, 2) are a legal resident of Florida, 3) are a legal resident in the county in which the court resides, 4) are at least eighteen years of age, 5) and are an owner of a valid Florida driver’s license or Florida identification card. Title V, Chapter 40.01
In addition, you must not be under prosecution for any crime, and you may not be convicted in this state, territory, or country of bribery, forgery, perjury, larceny, or any other offense that, had the crime been committed in the state, would be a felony. If you have had your civil rights restored to you, then you may serve on a jury. Title V, Chapter 40.013
No. (Fla. R. Exec. Clemency 4(I)(G)).