In Miami and elsewhere in Florida, a felony conviction means the loss of civil rights. A convicted felon cannot vote, hold public office, serve on a jury or hold some occupational licenses. These rights are permanently taken away unless the convicted felon completes a clemency application process and has his or her civil rights restored. If you have been convicted of a felony, having a Miami criminal defense attorney advocate on your behalf during the clemency application process can be of crucial importance.
In a recent appellate decision, a Florida court considered a defendant’s appeal related to restoration of rights. The defendant had pled no contest to possession of ammunition by a convicted felon and was appealing the denial of his motion to dismiss. He argued section 790.23(2)(a) unconstitutionally infringed on the executive branch’s authority to restore civil rights.
The case had arisen when the defendant was convicted of third-degree felony burglary of a structure. The Office of Executive Clemency restored his civil rights a year later. Restoration of rights excludes the authority to own or possess a firearm. Years later, the police searched his home based on a search warrant and found 12 rounds of live ammunition on his nightstand. The prosecutor charged him with a violation of 790.23(1)(a), possession of ammunition by a convicted felon.