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Pardons & Restoration of Rights

The application process for Pardons and Restoration of Rights has changed effective 01/01/2013. The revised application will be required. Each applicant will also be required to submit their criminal history record, certified sentence sheets for dispositions not noted on their criminal history and a self-addressed, stamped envelope. All firearms applications will require a personal interview and photo identification.
 
Pardon – an order granted to those individuals who have maintained a good reputation in their community, following the completion of their sentence(s) for a criminal offense. A Pardon is an official statement attached to the criminal record that states that the state of Georgia has pardoned the crime. It does not expunge, remove or erase the crime from your record. The applicant must wait until at least five years have elapsed since the applicant was released from supervision (including probation and/or parole).
 
Restoration of Rights - an order restoring a person’s civil and political rights which are lost in Georgia upon conviction. These include the right to run for and hold public office, to serve on a jury and to serve as a Notary Public. Restoration of rights does not include the right to possess, own or to carry a concealed firearm. The right to vote is automatically restored upon completion of your sentence(s); therefore you need not submit an application in order to restore your right to vote.
 
What is the difference between a restoration of rights and a pardon? Restoration of civil and political rights, if granted, will fully restore citizenship. It removes all civil disabilities and disqualifications imposed as a result of a conviction. These rights include the right to run for and hold public office, to serve on a jury, and to serve as a Notary Public. A pardon is an act of official forgiveness and is granted only in exceptional cases. It may serve as a means for the petitioner to advance in employment or education. A pardon does not expunge (remove) an offense from your record.
 
Requesting a pardon or a restoration of civil and political rights - To obtain an application form to request a pardon or a restoration of civil and political rights from the Parole Board: Pardon Application
 
Requesting a pardon for a Federal sentence - To request a pardon from the Federal government, information and form can be obtained from the U.S. Department of Justice, Office of the Pardon Attorney website:  http://www.usdoj.gov/pardon
 
Frequently Asked Questions
Do I need an attorney to apply? No, you do not need an attorney to apply for a pardon or a restoration of rights.
 
Is there an application fee? No, there is not an application fee.
 
How long does it take for my application to be processed?  The entire process can be lengthy since all information you provide to us must be investigated. On average, processing an application takes approximately six to nine months and may take longer based on the Board’s workload.
 
How do I get a Record Expunged? This is not a function/duty of the Parole Board. To research details regarding a Record Expungement, go to OCGA Section 35-3-37 for Georgia law requirements. 
 
What is a pardon and what does it do? A pardon is an order granted to those individuals who have maintained a good reputation in their community, following the completion of their sentence(s) for a criminal offense. A pardon is an official statement attached to the criminal record that states that the state of Georgia has pardoned the crime. It does not expunge, remove or erase the crime from your record. It does not relieve a convicted sex offender of the requirement to register on the Sex Offender Registry. The applicant must wait until at least five years have elapsed since the applicant was released from supervision (including probation and/or parole). A pardon may serve as a means for a petitioner to advance in employment or education.
 
When am I eligible to apply for a pardon? You must have completed all sentence(s) imposed upon you at least five (5) years prior to applying and have lived a law-abiding life since the completion of your sentence(s). You can have no pending charges against you. Your fines must be paid in full.
 
Will my record be cleared? No, a pardon does not remove, expunge, or clear the conviction from your criminal record. The pardon will become part of your criminal history record.
 
If I receive a pardon, and then I am asked by an employer or future employer whether I have been convicted of a crime, how do I answer this question? You must answer “yes” to your employer or future employer. Explain that you have received a pardon and provide a copy of your pardon paperwork.
 
What is a restoration of rights? A restoration of rights is an order restoring a person’s civil and political rights which are lost in Georgia upon conviction of a crime. These include the right to run for and hold public office, to serve on a jury, and to serve as a Notary Public. Restoration of rights does not include the right to possess, own or to carry a concealed firearm. The right to vote is automatically restored upon completion of your sentence(s); therefore you need not submit an application in order to restore your right to vote.
 
Georgia residents with out of state convictions may qualify for restoration of rights. They must be crime free for two (2) years and have lived a law abiding life following the completion of their sentence. If Georgia residents with out of state convictions wish to apply for restoration of rights and firearms rights, they must be crime free five (5) years and have lived a law-abiding life following the completion of their sentence(s).
 
When am I eligible to apply for a restoration of rights? You must have completed all sentence(s) at least two (2) years prior to applying and lived a law-abiding life since the termination of your sentence(s). You must currently live in Georgia. If you wish to have your firearms rights restored at the same time, you must have completed all sentence(s) at least five (5) years prior to applying and lived a law-abiding life since the termination of your sentence(s).
 
Is a Restoration of Civil and Political Rights a separate process from a Restoration of Firearms Rights? Yes, these are different processes. If you would like to have your firearms rights restored, you must check the line on the application for “Restoration of Right to Receive, Possess or Transport in Commerce a Firearm.” A personal interview, letters of reference and a photo identification will be required for firearms restorations.
 
Can I bow-hunt even if I do not receive a pardon or restoration of rights? Yes, you may bow hunt without a pardon or restoration of rights. 
 
Is a muzzle loader considered a firearm? Yes, a muzzle loader is considered a firearm.
 
Do I have to apply with the Parole Board to restore my right to vote? No, you do not have to apply to restore your right to vote. Your right to vote is automatically restored upon termination of your sentence(s). However, you must re-register with your local county registrar’s office in your county of residence. To find your local registrar’s office, visit this site: http://sos.ga.gov/index.php/Elections/register_to_vote.
 
Do I need to apply with the Parole Board to restore my right to sit on a jury? Yes, you must apply for a restoration of rights in order to sit on a jury.