CLEMENCY UPDATE

Committed to ending the disenfranchisement and discrimination against people with convictions.

CLEMENCY 2021 UPDATE

CLEMENCY 2021 UPDATE

After years of advocacy work by FRRC, the Florida clemency board put in place several reforms on restoration of civil rights (excluding firearm rights) on Wednesday, March 10, 2021. Moving forward, people with past felony convictions who are eligible to vote under Amendment 4 are now eligible to apply for automatic restoration of their civil rights. Also, the 5- and 7-year waiting periods for people to apply have been eliminated.

THE BASICS OF CIVIL RIGHTS RESTORATION

When people are convicted of a felony, they lose their civil rights. Civil rights include not only voting rights, but also the rights to sit on a jury and to hold public office. In many cases, employment and housing opportunities are tied to whether a person has their civil rights restored. Clemency is the only way for a person to have their civil rights restored.

 

 

 

 

After years of advocacy work by FRRC, the Florida clemency board put in place several reforms on restoration of civil rights (excluding firearm rights) on Wednesday, March 10, 2021. Moving forward, people with past felony convictions who are eligible to vote under Amendment 4 are now eligible to apply for automatic restoration of their civil rights. Also, the 5- and 7-year waiting periods for people to apply have been eliminated.

THE BASICS OF CIVIL RIGHTS RESTORATION

When people are convicted of a felony, they lose their civil rights. Civil rights include not only voting rights, but also the rights to sit on a jury and to hold public office. In many cases, employment and housing opportunities are tied to whether a person has their civil rights restored. Clemency is the only way for a person to have their civil rights restored.

 

 

 

 

The following basic policies on civil rights restoration are now in effect:

People with past felony convictions are eligible for civil rights restoration

  • These rights include the right to vote, if not already restored by Amendment 4, the right to sit on a jury, and the right to hold public office.
  • Restoration of the right to own, possess, or use firearms is still handled through a separate clemency process.

For most returning citizens, there is now no waiting period for rights restoration

  • Unless you have previously had your civil rights restored and are convicted of a new felony offense, you do not have to wait to apply for rights restoration.
  • Individuals who have previously had their civil rights restored under Florida law and are convicted of another felony offense must wait at least 7 years after completing all non-financial terms of the sentence for their subsequent conviction before they are eligible for civil rights restoration in Florida again.

→ You still need to apply for restoration of your civil rights, even if your voting rights have already been restored

  • For returning citizens who are eligible for voting rights restoration under Amendment 4 (people who both have never been convicted of murder or a felony sexual offense AND have completed all terms of their sentence, including payment of all fines, fees, and restitution):
    • While your voting rights have been restored through Amendment 4, qualifying to vote under Amendment 4 does not restore any other civil rights. You will need to apply to have your other civil rights (excluding firearm rights) restored.
    • Your application will be automatically approved by the clemency board, without a hearing. Your civil rights (excluding firearm rights) are immediately restored once your application has been processed.
  • For returning citizens who are not eligible for voting rights restoration under Amendment 4 (people who have felony convictions for murder or felony sexual offenses, and people who would qualify under Amendment 4 if not for fines, fees, and/or restitution that they still owe):
    • You do not qualify under Amendment 4, so your voting rights have not been restored. You will need to apply to have your civil rights restored. Your application for civil rights restoration will include both your voting rights and other civil rights (excluding firearm rights).
    • Your application will require a hearing. If the clemency board chooses to schedule a hearing for you and approves your application, your voting and other civil rights (excluding firearm rights) will be restored.
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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS:

 What if I have already applied to have my civil rights restored?

  • You do not need to reapply.

→ What if I was previously ineligible for voting rights restoration under Amendment 4, but have since paid off my fines and fees?

  • As long as you have never been convicted of murder or a felony sexual offense, your voting rights are now restored. A clemency application is not required for the restoration of voting rights under Amendment 4.
  • However, you will still need to apply to have your other civil rights restored (see “For returning citizens who are eligible for voting rights restoration under Amendment 4” above).

→ I was not eligible for voting rights restoration under Amendment 4 because I still owe fines, fees, and/or restitution. I applied for civil rights restoration, and the clemency board approved my application (after a hearing). Therefore, my voting and other civil rights (excluding firearm rights) have been restored. Do I still have to pay the fines, fees, and/or restitution I owe?

  • Yes, even if your civil rights have been restored, you still have to pay any fines, fees, and/or restitution you owe.

→ I applied for restoration of the civil rights I lost as a result of a felony conviction for a sexual offense. The clemency board approved my application (after a hearing). Therefore, my voting and other civil rights (excluding firearm rights) have been restored. Do I still have to register as a sex offender, and/or provide notification of my sexual offense(s)?

  • Yes, even if your civil rights have been restored, you are still required to follow the registration and notification requirements or any other obligations and restrictions.

→ Did the reforms to the clemency rules change any rules about the specific civil right to own, possess, or use firearms?

  • No, the clemency board only made changes to the rules on civil rights restoration excluding firearm rights, as described on the previous page.

 What if I have outstanding detainers or criminal charges?

  • You are not eligible for civil rights restoration (with or without a hearing), even if you otherwise meet the eligibility requirements. Your application for civil rights restoration will be denied.

 What if I am not a U.S. citizen?

  • You are not eligible for civil rights restoration (with or without a hearing), even if you otherwise meet the eligibility requirements. Your application for civil rights restoration will be denied.

 What if I was convicted in a non-Florida court (including federal convictions)?

  • You must be a legal resident of the State of Florida at the time your application for civil rights restoration is filed, considered, and acted upon.

 

 

After years of advocacy work by FRRC, the Florida clemency board put in place several reforms on restoration of civil rights (excluding firearm rights) on Wednesday, March 10, 2021. Moving forward, people with past felony convictions who are eligible to vote under Amendment 4 are now eligible to apply for automatic restoration of their civil rights. Also, the 5- and 7-year waiting periods for people to apply have been eliminated.

THE BASICS OF CIVIL RIGHTS RESTORATION

When people are convicted of a felony, they lose their civil rights. Civil rights include not only voting rights, but also the rights to sit on a jury and to hold public office. In many cases, employment and housing opportunities are tied to whether a person has their civil rights restored. Clemency is the only way for a person to have their civil rights restored.

 

 

 

 

The following basic policies on civil rights restoration are now in effect:

People with past felony convictions are eligible for civil rights restoration

  • These rights include the right to vote, if not already restored by Amendment 4, the right to sit on a jury, and the right to hold public office.
  • Restoration of the right to own, possess, or use firearms is still handled through a separate clemency process.

For most returning citizens, there is now no waiting period for rights restoration

  • Unless you have previously had your civil rights restored and are convicted of a new felony offense, you do not have to wait to apply for rights restoration.
  • Individuals who have previously had their civil rights restored under Florida law and are convicted of another felony offense must wait at least 7 years after completing all non-financial terms of the sentence for their subsequent conviction before they are eligible for civil rights restoration in Florida again.

→ You still need to apply for restoration of your civil rights, even if your voting rights have already been restored

  • For returning citizens who are eligible for voting rights restoration under Amendment 4 (people who both have never been convicted of murder or a felony sexual offense AND have completed all terms of their sentence, including payment of all fines, fees, and restitution):
    • While your voting rights have been restored through Amendment 4, qualifying to vote under Amendment 4 does not restore any other civil rights. You will need to apply to have your other civil rights (excluding firearm rights) restored.
    • Your application will be automatically approved by the clemency board, without a hearing. Your civil rights (excluding firearm rights) are immediately restored once your application has been processed.
  • For returning citizens who are not eligible for voting rights restoration under Amendment 4 (people who have felony convictions for murder or felony sexual offenses, and people who would qualify under Amendment 4 if not for fines, fees, and/or restitution that they still owe):
    • You do not qualify under Amendment 4, so your voting rights have not been restored. You will need to apply to have your civil rights restored. Your application for civil rights restoration will include both your voting rights and other civil rights (excluding firearm rights).
    • Your application will require a hearing. If the clemency board chooses to schedule a hearing for you and approves your application, your voting and other civil rights (excluding firearm rights) will be restored.
  •  
  •  

 

 

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS:

 What if I have already applied to have my civil rights restored?

  • You do not need to reapply.

→ What if I was previously ineligible for voting rights restoration under Amendment 4, but have since paid off my fines and fees?

  • As long as you have never been convicted of murder or a felony sexual offense, your voting rights are now restored. A clemency application is not required for the restoration of voting rights under Amendment 4.
  • However, you will still need to apply to have your other civil rights restored (see “For returning citizens who are eligible for voting rights restoration under Amendment 4” above).

→ I was not eligible for voting rights restoration under Amendment 4 because I still owe fines, fees, and/or restitution. I applied for civil rights restoration, and the clemency board approved my application (after a hearing). Therefore, my voting and other civil rights (excluding firearm rights) have been restored. Do I still have to pay the fines, fees, and/or restitution I owe?

  • Yes, even if your civil rights have been restored, you still have to pay any fines, fees, and/or restitution you owe.

→ I applied for restoration of the civil rights I lost as a result of a felony conviction for a sexual offense. The clemency board approved my application (after a hearing). Therefore, my voting and other civil rights (excluding firearm rights) have been restored. Do I still have to register as a sex offender, and/or provide notification of my sexual offense(s)?

  • Yes, even if your civil rights have been restored, you are still required to follow the registration and notification requirements or any other obligations and restrictions.

→ Did the reforms to the clemency rules change any rules about the specific civil right to own, possess, or use firearms?

  • No, the clemency board only made changes to the rules on civil rights restoration excluding firearm rights, as described on the previous page.

 What if I have outstanding detainers or criminal charges?

  • You are not eligible for civil rights restoration (with or without a hearing), even if you otherwise meet the eligibility requirements. Your application for civil rights restoration will be denied.

 What if I am not a U.S. citizen?

  • You are not eligible for civil rights restoration (with or without a hearing), even if you otherwise meet the eligibility requirements. Your application for civil rights restoration will be denied.

 What if I was convicted in a non-Florida court (including federal convictions)?

  • You must be a legal resident of the State of Florida at the time your application for civil rights restoration is filed, considered, and acted upon.

 

 

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