How can a felon get his rights back?


Quick Answer

Convicted felons may regain rights lost as a result of the conviction by contacting the Department of Justice in the state or federal jurisdiction where the case was tried, states The Law Dictionary. Regaining lost rights depends primarily on state laws and the nature of the conviction, states ProCon.org.

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Full Answer

Although state laws vary, some rights commonly lost by convicted felons include voting and gun ownership, says Smith & Kramer, P.C. Maine and Vermont allow felons to vote even while serving their sentences. In other states, a felon may permanently lose voting rights even after release from prison, parole, probation and payment of fines. In 20 states, the right to vote is restored after a felon's term of incarceration, parole and probation. Four states restore the right to vote after incarceration and parole, states ProCon.org. Thirteen states and the District of Columbia return voting rights after the term of incarceration.

It's difficult but not impossible for a felon to regain the right to legally own a gun, notes The Law Dictionary. The first step involves contacting the Department of Justice or one of several federal agencies to determine whether the felony was a state or federal offense. It's easier to get civil rights restored if a conviction was given by a state court rather than a federal court. Many states have a form for felons to use to regain their civil rights. These requests are only granted if a felon can demonstrate a fundamental life change, steady employment and community ties.

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