How Can You Get A Pardon For A Criminal Conviction In Florida?
A person who has been previously convicted of a state crime in Florida may seek relief in the form of a clemency or pardon. Clemency broadly refers to the process of absolving an individual from the punishment imposed by their conviction. This is not something you can seek from a court, however. Rather, clemency and pardons are a function of the executive branch of the Florida government.
The Different Types of Clemency in Florida
In some states, the governor has the sole, unrestricted power to grant clemency. The rules in Florida are a bit more complicated. Here, the governor has the unrestricted power to deny any request for clemency. But granting certain forms of clemency requires the consent of other elected state officials.
Here is a brief rundown of each type of clemency in Florida:
- A full pardon means a person is unconditionally released from their conviction and sentence. A person who receives a full pardon is restored to all of their civil rights, including the right to vote or own firearms.
- A pardon without firearm authority is, as the name suggests, a pardon that restores civil rights except for the ability to own or use firearms.
- A pardon for misdemeanor has the same effect as a full pardon for misdemeanor-level crimes.
- A commutation of sentence reduces a person’s criminal penalty but does not forgive the underlying conviction or restore any civil rights.
- A remission of fines and forfeitures suspends, reduces, or eliminates a criminal fine or forfeiture, except for any restitution owed to a victim of a criminal act.
- A specific authority to own, possess, or use firearms restores a previously convicted felon’s firearm rights. Note that this only applies to Florida state convictions and not any federal or out-of-state convictions.
- A restoration of civil rights in Florida restores a convicted felon’s civil rights, such as the right to vote, but not the right to own, possess, or use firearms.
Any form of clemency may be subject to certain conditions. This means clemency can be revoked if the recipient violates those conditions. A revocation basically restores a person to their previous legal status.
As noted above, the Governor of Florida does not have sole discretion over clemency. To grant most forms of clemency–except the collection of fines and forfeitures–the governor must have approval from two members of the Florida Cabinet. The Cabinet is composed of three elected state officials: the Attorney General, the Commissioner of Agriculture, and the Chief Financial Officer. While the consent of two of the three Cabinet members are necessary to grant clemency, the Governor does have the unilateral authority to deny a clemency request for any reason.
Contact Florida Criminal Defense Lawyer Jose Baez Today
A criminal conviction can follow you for years. That is why it is important to learn more about your clemency options. Ideally, you can avoid a criminal conviction in the first place. If you need to consult with a qualified Orlando criminal defense attorney, contact the Baez Law Firm today to schedule a consultation.