Being convicted of a felony is damaging. There is so much lost, and life has changed forever. Going to prison is bad enough, but then the stain of your conviction follows you around, affecting everything else.
One major impact of a felony conviction is the long-term loss of freedoms. You’ve already paid your debt to society, but now there are ways that you cannot participate in that society. It’s not fair, and there are many organizations across the country fighting against these prohibitions. If you’ve been convicted of a felony in Florida, here are some rights you can expect to lose.
Obviously, the most immediate consequence of a felony is losing your freedom. Imprisoned, you can no longer go where you want or do what you please. Your days become rigidly scheduled. Other people tell you when to get up; when it’s time for bed; when it’s time to eat; what you’re going to eat; and much more. If you or someone you love has been charged with a felony, you need to talk to a lawyer immediately. You will want someone in your corner, fighting for basic, everyday freedoms.
In Florida, a felony charge comes with the loss of certain civil rights. The loss of these rights is not just for the duration of your sentence. It carries on after your release.
Civil rights you lose in a felony charge:
- The right to vote
- The right to serve in a jury
- The right to hold public office
- The right to have some professional licenses reinstated, such as real estate or insurance
Second Amendment Rights
Former felons can no longer own firearms, despite their constitutional right. If found with a firearm, the penalties can be severe. The charge is a second-degree felony – another one on your record – that has a minimum of three years in prison. The sentence can go as high as fifteen years.
Other charges can be tacked on as well. If you are under probation, parole, or a supervised release, separate charges can be filed. For example, you’ll be charged with having a firearm as a former felon, and you can be charged with violation of your parole.
Getting Your Rights Back
Talk to a Lawyer
Florida does have some processes in place that will give back some of your rights. If you’re looking into doing this, we encourage you to seek a lawyer. The steps you take may seem simple, such as filling out and submitting forms. These forms, however, will be reviewed and scrutinized. They will be looked over by committees and parole boards.
A lawyer will help you go through these applications to make sure all the information is filled out correctly. Any little error can get your request denied. Your attorney will assist in building a strong argument in your forms, beyond making sure all the boxes and letters are correct. They can guide you in what to say and what not to say because they know how your reviewers are going to assess these forms. Helping you play to your strengths, an attorney can show you how to demonstrate that you’re reformed and deserve a second chance. If you are denied, lawyers can fight for you, keeping the process alive.
Restoration of Civil Rights
As soon as your sentence is over, you can apply to restore your civil rights, but the sentence must be truly over. Any paroles, probations, or supervisions must be finished. There can be no other outstanding criminal charges against you, and any associated fees must be paid.
You may send in an application to the Office of Executive Clemency. The Florida Parole Commission will review the document and approve or deny the request.
Restoration of Second Amendment Rights
This process is a little more involved. Former convicts must wait a full eight years after their sentence is over, including all extra supervision. They must already have their civil rights restored, too. Once again, you will file through the Office of Executive Clemency. After they give you approval, you must then send a separate application to the Federal government, in accordance with the Federal Firearm Act.
Again, it is encouraged that you seek the services of a good lawyer. They will help you keep all the paperwork straight and keep the process moving.
When you’re ready to have your rights restored, contact us. We have years of experience in fighting for the rights of the accused, and we offer a free, initial consultation. Call (305) 928-1669 or contact us online today.