If you have been plead guilty to or been convicted of a crime in the state of Florida, not all hope is lost. In the state of Florida, you are allowed to seek clemency from the Office of the Governor, which can give you relief from the effects of a criminal conviction on your record.

What is clemency?

The term “clemency” encompasses numerous forms of post-conviction relief. “Clemency” is defined as “an act of instance of leniency” and seeking some form of clemency from the Governor can assist those with a criminal conviction in a multitude of ways, including getting back the right to vote and possess a firearm if you were convicted of a felony in the state of Florida.

You can apply with the Governor’s office to receive clemency in the form of a (1) full pardon, (2) pardon without firearm authority, (3) pardon for misdemeanor, (4) commutation of sentence, (5) remission of fines and forfeitures, (6) specific authority to own, possess, or use firearms, (7) restoration of civil rights in Florida, and (8) restoration of alien status under Florida law.

What does getting a pardon do for me?

A pardon has the effect of unconditionally releasing a person from punishment and forgives guilt for the Florida conviction that is the subject of the pardon. The person is essentially restored to a time before an arrest. This includes the removal of any civil disabilities such as the ability to vote, the ability to serve in public office, the right to sit on a jury, and the ability to possess firearms.

What is a commutation of sentence?

A commutation of sentence may reduce someone’s time in detention, on supervised release or community control, or other penalties associated with the original condition that resulted in the sentence. Unlike a pardon, a commutation of sentence does not have the effect of restoring the civil rights of an individual that lost them as a result of a felony conviction.

What is a restoration of civil rights?

The issuance of clemency in the form of a restoration of civil rights gives the recipient all of the rights of citizenship in the state of Florida prior to the felony conviction, except for the ability to own, possess or use firearms. It is also important to note that this form of clemency does not impact the need for individuals guilty of sex crimes to adhere to the imposed registration and notification requirements overseen by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.

How do I know if I am eligible for clemency in the state of Florida?

Whether or not you are eligible for clemency in the state of Florida is dictated by which form of clemency you are seeking. Your potential eligibility for restoration of rights may be different than that of requesting a full pardon as there are many enumerated offenses that prevent an individual from being eligible for a restoration of their civil rights; they can, however, after completion of any requirements of their sentence and the passage of time, apply for a pardon in the state of Florida.