17 Oct 23

How to Get a Pardon for a Felony in Florida

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Last Updated on: 3rd November 2023, 07:11 pm

How to Get a Pardon for a Felony in Florida

A felony conviction can follow you for life, limiting jobs, housing, loans, and your rights. While Florida doesn’t allow expungement of felonies, a pardon offers a chance at forgiveness and a fresh start. But obtaining a pardon is challenging.

This article explains everything you need to know about getting a pardon for a Florida felony conviction – the requirements, process, and benefits if granted clemency.

What is a Pardon?

A pardon in Florida is an act of mercy and forgiveness. According to Florida Statutes, Section 940.01[1], a pardon can:

  • Release punishment for a crime
  • Restore civil rights lost due to conviction
  • Remove disqualifications or disabilities

While a pardon doesn’t erase the conviction, it reduces the penalties and legal restrictions imposed on those convicted of a felony.

Types of Pardons

There are several types of pardons in Florida[2]:

  • Full pardon – restores all civil rights and gun ownership
  • Pardon without firearm authority
  • Pardon for specific relief like occupational licensing
  • Pardon with expungement of criminal history records

The best option is a full pardon, though the type granted depends on your offense and background.

Eligibility Requirements

To qualify for a pardon for a Florida felony, you must[3]:

  • Complete all sentencing requirements
  • Pay any restitution in full
  • Have no pending criminal cases
  • Wait 5-15 years after completion of sentence

The waiting period depends on the felony. You must also be a Florida resident and U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident.

The Application Process

Applying for a pardon in Florida involves:

  1. Obtain and complete application form
  2. Gather supporting documents like references
  3. Submit application and documents to FCOR
  4. Background investigation conducted
  5. If approved, case goes to governor

The process takes 9-12 months. The governor makes the final decision on granting pardons.

Tips for a Strong Application

To maximize your chances, make sure your application:

  • Shows remorse and acceptance of responsibility
  • Details your rehabilitation and good character
  • Explains why you deserve forgiveness and restoration of rights
  • Includes evidence of reform like employment, community service, etc.

Using an Attorney

Hiring an experienced attorney to assist with your pardon application is highly recommended. They can:

  • Make sure you meet eligibility requirements
  • Obtain and review needed documents
  • Craft the strongest case for your pardon
  • Greatly improve your chances of approval
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An attorney maximizes the likelihood of getting your petition granted.

After Receiving a Pardon

If granted a pardon, obtain documentation and make copies. Notify agencies and employers that previously denied you based on the felony.

A pardon allows you to truthfully claim no felony conviction on most applications and helps restore opportunities.

Limitations of a Pardon

While a pardon offers many benefits, some restrictions may remain:

  • Does not seal or expunge the criminal record
  • May not restore firearm rights depending on offense
  • May not reinstate certain professional licenses
  • Does not guarantee private employers will accept it

But overall a pardon goes a long way in moving forward after a felony conviction.