A felony conviction in the state of Georgia is not only a tragic event that many individuals face, but it is an event that often haunts an individual’s entire life, often limiting or preventing job opportunities and education advancement. Fortunately for anyone who finds themselves in this boat, there are legal steps that can be taken to help in these endeavors, from restoring your civil rights and restoring your right to bear arms to receiving a pardon from the state of Georgia.
In deciding which steps you should take, it is important to understand the distinction between a few key terms: “restoration of civil and political rights,” “pardon,” and “restoration of fire arm rights.” A restoration of your civil and political rights includes restoring your right to run for and hold public office, to serve on a jury, and to serve as a Notary Public. Absent a restoration of these rights after a conviction in Georgia, these rights will not be regained. To qualify for a restoration of rights, two (2) years must have passed since you have completed your sentence and you must have completed all sentences imposed on you.
A pardon, on the other hand, while not a restoration of rights or an expungement of any arrest, serves as an official statement which accompanies your criminal record. This official statement serves as an acknowledgment from the state of Georgia that you have lived a law-abiding life since your conviction and that you have served as an upstanding member of the community. Pardons are often helpful in seeking employment opportunities. To qualify for a pardon, five (5) years must have passed since you have completed your sentence and you must have completed all sentences ever imposed on you. Additionally, as of January 1, 2015, registered sex offenders in certain circumstances may apply for a second type of pardon, provided that additional requirements are met.
A restoration of your right to bear arms, which restores the right to purchase, possess, and use fire arms, can be obtained as well if the following criteria are met: you have never been convicted of any drug related charge, five (5) years have passed since you have completed your sentence, there are no pending charges against you, and you have paid off any and all fines. In addition, you must have three (3) letters of reference from upstanding members of the community that will attest to your integrity. Keep in mind that the State Board of Pardons and Paroles is not required to restore an individual’s right to bear arms, even if all of the above criteria are met.
Everyone makes mistakes, and everyone deserves a second chance. Unfortunately, getting that second chance can often present numerous obstacles that are hard to overcome without the assistance of an attorney. At the Sellers Law Firm, your friendly neighborhood law firm can help guide you through this process and help put you back on the right path.