Pardons & Record Restrictions

Pardons

Pardon – an order granted to those individuals who have maintained a good  reputation in their community, following the completion of their  sentence for a criminal offense. A Pardon is an official statement  attached to the criminal record that states that the State of Georgia  has pardoned the crime. It does not expunge, remove or erase the crime  from your record. The applicant must wait until at least five years have  elapsed since the applicant was released from supervision (including  probation and/or parole).

Restoration of Rights – an order restoring the rights which are lost in Georgia upon  conviction. These include the right to run for and hold public office,  and to serve as a Notary Public. Restoration of rights does not include  the right to possess, own or to carry a concealed firearm. The right to  vote is automatically restored upon completion of your sentence.

What is the difference between a restoration of rights and a pardon? Restoration  of civil rights, if granted, will fully restore citizenship. It removes  all civil disabilities and disqualifications imposed as a result of a  felony conviction. These rights include the right to run for and hold  public office, to serve on juries, and to serve as a Notary Public. A  pardon is an act of official forgiveness and is granted only in  exceptional cases. It may serve as a means for the petitioner to advance in employment or education. A pardon does not expunge (remove) an offense from your record.

Requesting a pardon for a Federal sentence – To  request a pardon from the Federal government, information and form can  be obtained from the U.S. Department of Justice, Office of the Pardon  Attorney website:  http://www.usdoj.gov/pardon

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I need an attorney to apply? No, you do not need an attorney to apply for a pardon or a restoration of rights.

Is there an application fee? No, there is not an application fee.

How long does it take to for my application to be processed?  The  entire process can be lengthy since all information you provide to us  must be investigated. On average, processing an application takes  approximately nine to twelve months and may take longer if you have convictions in multiple counties and/or other states.

What is a pardon and what does it do? A  Pardon is an official statement attached to the criminal record that  states that the State of Georgia has pardoned the crime. It “forgives”  but does not “forget.” A pardon does not overturn a judgment of  conviction. It does not erase the fact that a person was once convicted  of a crime. It does not relieve a convicted sex offender of the  requirement to register on the Sex Offender Registry.

When am I eligible to apply for a pardon? You  must have completed all sentences imposed upon you at least five (5)  years prior to applying and have lived a law-abiding life since the  completion of your sentences. You can have no pending charges against  you. Your fines must be paid in full.

Will my record be cleared? No, a pardon does not remove, expunge, or clear the conviction from your criminal record.

If  I receive a pardon, and then I am asked by an employer or future  employer whether I have been convicted of a crime, do I answer “no”  since I received a pardon? You must answer “yes” to your  employer or future employer. Explain that you have received a pardon and  provide a copy of your pardon paperwork.

I was convicted of a sex offense and I was pardoned. Do I still have to register on the Sex Offender Registry? Yes,  even if you received a pardon, you must continue to register on the Sex  Offender Registry for 10 years after the termination (end) of your  sentence.

What is a restoration of rights? A  restoration of rights is an order restoring the rights which are lost  in Georgia upon conviction of a crime. These include the right to run  for and hold public office, to sit on a jury, and to serve as a Notary  Public. Restoration of rights does not include the right to possess, own  or to carry a concealed firearm.

When am I eligible to apply for a restoration of rights? You  must have completed all sentences imposed upon you. You must currently  live in Georgia if you were convicted in another state. You must have  completed all sentences imposed upon you at least two (2) years prior to  applying, and you must have lived a law-abiding life since the  termination of your sentence(s).

Is a restoration of rights a separate process from a restoration of firearms rights? Yes,  these are different processes. If you would like to have your firearms  rights restored, you must check the line on the application for  “Restoration of the Right to Receive, Possess or Transport in Commerce a  Firearm.”

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