NATIONALLY RECOGNIZED FEDERAL LAWYERS
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, 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:
- 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.
To qualify for a pardon for a Florida felony, you must:
- 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:
- Obtain and complete application form
- Gather supporting documents like references
- Submit application and documents to FCOR
- Background investigation conducted
- 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
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.