GETTING YOUR RIGHTS RESTORED AFTER A FELONY CONVICTION

A felony conviction results in many consequences. After you have completed the terms of a felony sentence, you may find more and more ways that your record is stopping you from getting where you want to be socially and financially. Convicted felons lose various civil and political rights upon conviction. For example, a convicted felon is unable to run for and hold public office, become a notary public, or serve on a jury. Felons also cannot own or possess a firearm.

In Georgia, felons have the opportunity to restore the civil rights that were lost at the time of conviction. While the right to vote is automatically restored upon completion of the sentence, to restore your remaining civil and political rights a restoration application must be submitted to the Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles. To be eligible to have your civil and political rights restored, you must have completed your sentence within two (2) years prior to applying including paid any fines and restitution in full, and you must demonstrate that you have been living a law-abiding life. In order to have your case "Pardoned" you must demonstrate that you have been living a law-abiding life for five (5) years prior to applying. It is important to understand that a Pardon does not remove or restrict your criminal record. However, once you are granted an official pardon from the state it will always be attached to your criminal history showing the state has officially forgiven you for the crime. 

It is much more challenging in Georgia to restore your firearm rights. In this instance, you must prove to the State you have lived a crime-free life for a total of five (5) years after completing your sentence before applying including repayment of all fines and restituion. You will also need at least three (3) character references in the form of notarized letters from non-family members. In addition, the State requires an in person interview with a SBPP staff member. The State WILL NOT restore your gun rights if your offense(s) involved the use or possession of a gun. 

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