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    Is it Possible for Felons to Regain Their Right to Bear Arms in Florida?

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    Can You Lose Your Civil Rights Following a Felony Conviction?

    Individuals who have been found guilty of felony offenses in the state of Florida could lose their civil rights. Civil rights in jeopardy may include your right to vote, your right to serve on a jury with your peers, the right to hold public office, and the right to possess, use, and own a firearm.

    Additionally, felons may lose other opportunities in life, like the ability to acquire occupational licenses, housing, employment opportunities, and education programs. It may be possible for a Florida felon to have their record sealed to help diminish the lasting effects of their criminal convictions. However, this legal option alone may not result in the restoration of lost civil rights.

    You may also lose gun rights in Florida if you have been convicted of committing a domestic violence crime, even if the domestic violence offense was a misdemeanor. In addition, you may lose your right to bear arms if you have a restraining order against you for domestic violence and domestic abuse.

    To learn more about losing your civil rights and how to potentially restore them, please contact our felony case attorneys in Hollywood, Florida for a case evaluation.

    Can You Have Your Gun Rights Restored in Florida?

    Certain felons may be eligible to restore their firearm rights in Florida. However, they must meet strict requirements in order to qualify for firearm right restoration.

    Requirements to have your firearm rights restored following a felony conviction in Florida include:

    • Eight years have passed since you completed all sentencing.
    • There are no outstanding detainers or financial penalties worth more than $1,000 for any convictions or Florida traffic violations.
    • There are no outstanding restitution payments remaining for the victim of your felony conviction. Includes restitution payments pursuant to court orders, obligations, or civil judgments.
    • You have completed all sentencing imposed against you for your recent conviction, including all conditions of supervision, including parole, community service, probation, and conditional release.

    If adjudication was withheld on your felony charge, you may not be required to petition for executive clemency as you weren’t adjudicated with a guilty verdict. However, you cannot buy a gun from a licensed dealer for three years.

    Please note that if you were convicted of a federal felony or in military court, then you do not qualify to have Florida firearm rights restored.

    What if You Have an Out-of-State Felony Conviction?

    If you have been convicted of a felony in another state, you must apply to have your gun rights restored in that state, even if you are currently residing in Florida. The Florida government does not have the authority to restore legal rights that it did not take away. If the other state elects to restore your rights, then Florida may recognize the restoration of your rights under the Full Faith and Credit Clause of the United States Constitution.

    If the other state denies your application to restore your firearm rights, then you cannot hope to restore those rights in Florida. Speak to lawyers experienced in criminal defense and the restoration of civil rights to felons to learn more about the possibility of restoring your gun rights after an out-of-state conviction or guilty verdict.

    What is the Process for Restoring Gun Rights?

    If you’ve been convicted of a felony in the state of Florida, you may have the ability to later restore your firearm rights if you meet certain requirements. However, the application process for restoring firearm rights can be complex and take a long time. You must petition for a full pardon or the specific right to own, use, and possess firearms with the Florida Office of Executive Clemency.

    To apply, you must submit the proper documentation. This includes submitting certified copies of all relevant charging documents, judgments, sentencing, and probation orders (if applicable) for each of your felony or misdemeanor convictions. These documents must be submitted to the clerk of court in the Florida county where you received your conviction or guilty verdict. Though not required, it is highly recommended that you also include character references, letters of support, a personal statement, and any relevant documentation to your application for a pardon.

    Your application will be reviewed, and then you may need to attend a hearing or initial screening. If you meet the eligibility requirements, the Florida Commission of Offender Review may elect to assign an official investigator to your gun rights restoration case. If the investigator recommends that the Commission grant you clemency, you will receive a certificate that restores your gun rights. If, however, the Florida Commission of Offender Review elects to deny your request, you have the legal option to reapply for the restoration of gun rights in two years.

    What Types of Guns Can a Felon Own Without a Restoration of Rights or a Pardon?

    Florida law defines firearms as weapons that use explosive propulsion to fire projectiles. Therefore, it may be possible for Florida felons to possess other types of guns that the law does not classify as firearms.

    Guns that it may be potentially legal for a felon to own in Florida include:

    • Airsoft guns.
    • BB guns.
    • Bows and crossbows.
    • Other types of air guns.
    • Paintball guns.

    Those with Florida felony convictions should be extra cautious about hunting with hunters who are using legally recognized firearms. This may be considered ‘constructive possession’ of a firearm, which is not legal for felons who have not had their gun rights restored.

    Schedule a Consultation with an Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney Today

    To restore your firearm rights, you must meet the eligibility criteria and apply for clemency. Clemency may be provided with commutations of sentencing, pardons, and specific restoration of civil rights. The process can be complicated, and it is highly recommended that you retain professional legal counsel if you are looking to restore your gun rights.

    Please contact our law firm to schedule a no-obligation confidential consultation. You may contact our Hollywood, Florida, law offices at (954) 833-1454.

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