In Florida, there are different levels of clemency that you might be granted. This is a constitutionally authorized process that gives convicted felons the chance for relief from the punishment they were given for crimes that they might not have committed. Clemency is not dispensed in very many occasions, but it can be appropriate to seek it for some kinds of offenses when there was an error in the justice process or a mistake was made during someone’s trial. Clemency is offered to those whose cases were not tried fairly so that they can get back their citizenship rights after an error in the justice system process.
Knowing what kinds of clemency you can be offered can make a big difference in the request that your attorney might make on your behalf. The more than you know about the process, the more likely you are to get the kind of clemency granted to you that you deserve.
If you are ready to learn more about the different kinds of Florida clemency, you need to read on for more information.
What is Clemency?
As mentioned above, clemency is a constitutionally provided right that allows those convicted of a felony to seek relief from punishment and restoration of their civil rights. This process is often sought when there has been a mistake in the handling of someone’s criminal case or when new information is brought forward that clears someone of wrongdoing.
There are specific rules that govern the granting of clemency and the ability to seek clemency for a crime depends on the Governor of Florida as well as cabinet members who are also state elected officials. The Governor has the sole right to deny clemency as well.
What Are the Types of Clemency in Florida?
There are various types of clemency and the severity of the conviction that someone was given can impact the kind of clemency that they are offered. Firearms and drug-related crimes can be harder to get full clemency from as can crimes that involved violence toward another person. The details of your case and the information that is brought forth when seeking clemency can impact the kind of clemency that you are offered. The Clemency Board and the governor will determine the clemency that you are offered, if any, based on this information.
· Full Pardon
This is the unconditional release of someone from their punishment. This forgives the guilt of a convicted person from any kind of Florida conviction. This also restores the civil rights and citizenship rights of the person that were taken away when they were convicted. This kind of clemency also allows the convicted person to once again own firearms and use them.
· Pardon Without Firearm Authority
In this version of clemency, the formerly convicted party is released from punishment and their guilt is forgiven. They are not allowed to have firearms or to use them but they are granted all of the other citizenship rights that they held before the conviction.
· Pardon for Misdemeanor
This pardon releases a person from conviction and forgives guilt but does not return the right to possess or use weapons or the full citizenship rights that were enjoyed by the person prior to their conviction.
· Commutation of Sentence
This form of clemency adjusts the penalty that the convicted person was handed and changes the severity of the punishment they are serving time for. This does not restore civil rights and does not give back the right to own or use firearms.
· Remission of Fines and Forfeitures
The Remission of Fines and Forfeitures reduces or removes fines or forfeitures that were associated with a conviction.
· Specific Authority to Own, Possess or Use Firearms
This clemency offering gives someone back the right to own or use firearms related to a felony conviction. This is impacted by firearms laws and the clemency board will not consider a request that is made by those convicted in federal or out-of-state court locations. This clemency application must also include a Presidential Pardon or a Relief of Disability that is granted by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms. This type of clemency must also be issued in the state where the conviction took place.
· Restoration of Civil Rights in Florida
The restoration of civil rights in Florida restores the rights of an applicant to the citizenship rights they enjoyed prior to their conviction. This does not allow for the use or ownership of weapons, however. This will also not relieve the person from obligations and restrictions imposed on sexual predators or sex offenders.
Does Clemency Clear a Convicted Person’s Record?
Clemency does not expunge someone’s record and it does not expunge their criminal record either. These functions are part of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement’s duties. This is a separate process that must be pursued after a certificate of eligibility is granted to someone to seal or expunge their criminal record.
There are also various kinds of sealing and expunging that convicted persons can qualify for, so this is another item that will require the help of an attorney to pursue. This application must be done correctly or it will be denied by the FDLE.
How Does the Process of Clemency Work?
When an application for clemency is received by the Office of Executive Clemency, it is first screened for eligibility. There are required time frames that must be met for different offenses and the right certified court documents must be submitted for the clemency to be considered. This is one of the key reasons that a skilled Florida clemency lawyer can be very important to the clemency process. Working alone on the necessary documents and steps to complete the clemency process is often not feasible when you are incarcerated and you could easily miss important steps that are required for your clemency case to be considered.
If your case is found to be eligible, the application is then sent on to the investigative phase. Cases are assigned to examiners that are field officers. If the application does not meet the requirements for investigation, the applicant is informed of the reasons that the application did not meet standards and given guidance about the next steps.
The clemency board looks at the applications that have been approved and investigated to see if they believe that the information that has been offered in the documentation meets the requirements to grant clemency. The more detailed and effective the details of your case have been presented to the board and the governor, the more likely it will be that clemency will be granted.
The details of the kind of clemency that is offered to people seeking it will depend on the decision of the board and the governor. There are many details that can impact the final clemency offer and the severity of the crimes that someone was convicted for as well as the reasons and details surrounding the request for clemency can make the difference in the ultimate clemency that is awarded. You might also be able to obtain partial clemency but not a full pardon and this determination will be made based on the facts of your unique situation as well.
Do I Have to Attend My Clemency Hearing?
You do not have to come before the Clemency board for your hearing. You cannot, however, offer testimony if you do not attend and this can be a very important part of the process of seeking clemency. Understanding of your case is critical when presenting information to the Clemency Board and you should consider carefully that this is one of the key aspects that can change the course and determination of your clemency. Your attorney will always advise you to be present and to give testimony when seeking clemency for good reason.
Clemency in the State of Florida Can Change a Convicted Person’s Life
If you believe that you should be able to secure clemency due to information that has come to light related to your case, you need to secure a skilled clemency lawyer right away. The sooner that the information is presented to the clemency board, the more likely you will be to secure clemency that can change your life for the better. When you have been incorrectly convicted of a crime or your rights have been taken away due to an error in the justice process, you need to seek restoration of those rights with a carefully prepared clemency application.
Securing a skilled clemency lawyer is critical to the end result of your clemency case and you should make this a priority if you are considering applying for clemency related to the conviction that you received. Skilled clemency lawyers will know about the kinds of clemency that you can secure and the information that needs to be provided to make securing a good result probable. If you need assistance with your clemency case, you need to reach out to us today! We can help you to seek the clemency that you deserve and change the course of your life for the better.