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Pardons & Restoration of Rights

The application process for Pardons and Restoration of Rights has changed effective 01/01/2015 and the revised application will be required. All previous versions of applications received by the State Board of Pardons and Paroles on or after 02/16/2015 will be returned to the applicant.  Each applicant will 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. 
 
IN ADDITION, there are now two different pardon applications.  Please review the information below to determine which application pertains to your situation.
 
●      General Pardon and Restoration of Rights Application (application)
●      Registered Sex Offender Pardon Application  (application)
 
To qualify for a Pardon for offenses other than sex offenses which required you to be listed on Georgia’s Sex Offender Registry:
 
●      You must have completed all sentence(s) at least five (5) years prior to applying.
●      You must have lived a law-abiding life during the five (5) years prior to applying.
●      You cannot have any pending charges.
●      All fines and restitution must be paid in full.
 
To qualify for a Pardon for sex offenses which required you to be listed on Georgia’s Sex Offender Registry:
 
●      You must have completed all sentences for sex offenses requiring registration at least ten
        (10) years prior to applying.
●      Within 90 days of application for the Pardon, you must have a psychosexual evaluation
        conducted. A list of approved sex offender treatment providers can be found at the
        following link: Approved Sex Offender Treatment Providers. All costs are the responsibility
        of the applicant.
●      Within 90 days of application for the Pardon, you must submit to a disclosure polygraph. A list
        of approved polygraph examiners can be found at the following link: Polygraph Examiners.
        All costs are the responsibility of the applicant.
●      You must provide a current copy of your most recent risk level evaluation as assigned by the
        Sexual Offender Registration Review Board (SORRB).  
●      You must have lived a law-abiding life during the ten (10) years prior to applying.
●      You cannot have any pending charges.
●      All fines and restitution must be paid in full.
 
Pardon – This is an order of official forgiveness and is granted to those individuals who have maintained a good reputation in their community following the completion of their sentence(s).  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 may serve as a means for a petitioner to advance in employment or education.
 
Restoration of Civil and Political Rights – This is an order restoring a person’s civil 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.  The right to vote is automatically restored upon completion of your sentence(s) therefore you need not submit an application.
 
Frequently Asked Questions
 
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.
 
Do I need an attorney to apply?   No, you do not need an attorney to apply for a Pardon or Restoration of Civil and Political Rights.
 
Is there a fee to apply?   No, there is no 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 verified.  On average, processing an application takes approximately six to nine months and may take longer based on the Board’s workload.
 
What will happen if I cannot obtain my criminal history or dispositions for my convictions?  Your application will not be processed without the Georgia criminal history and certified sentence document for any disposition not showing on your record.
 
When am I eligible to apply for a Pardon?  You must have completed all sentence(s) 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. All fines and restitution must be paid in full. HOWEVER, if you are seeking a Pardon for a sex offense which has required you to be listed on Georgia’s Sex Offender Registry, there are additional requirements and you must apply using the Sex Offender Pardon application found on the SBPP’s website.  
 
Will my conviction still show on my record?   Yes, however, a Pardon or Restoration of Civil and Political Rights will become part of your criminal history record.
 
How do I get a Record Expungement?  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.
 
If I receive a Pardon, and then I am asked by an employer or future employer whether I have been convicted of a crime, do I answer “no” since I received a Pardon?    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 Civil and Political Rights?   A Restoration of Civil and Political Rights is an order restoring the rights which are lost in Georgia upon conviction.  These include the right to run for and hold public office, to sit on a jury, and to serve as a Notary Public. Restoration of Civil and Political Rights does not automatically include the right to possess, own or carry a firearm; it must be specifically granted by the Board.   
 
When am I eligible to apply for Restoration of Civil and Political 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).
 
Is a Restoration of Civil and Political Rights a separate process from a Restoration of Firearm Rights?  Yes, these are different processes.  If you would like to have your firearm rights restored, you must check the line on the application for “Restoration of Right to Receive, Possess or Transport in Commerce a Firearm” and meet the applicable requirements.  A personal interview will be required for firearm restorations.
 
Can I bow hunt even if I do not receive a Pardon or Restoration of Civil and Political Rights?   Yes, you may bow hunt without a Pardon or Restoration of Civil and Political 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.  Your right to vote is automatically restored upon termination of your sentence(s).  However, you must re-register with your local registrar’s office in the county of your 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 Civil and Political Rights in order to serve on a jury.
 
Do I need to apply with the Parole Board to restore my right to run for public office?  Yes, you must
apply for a Restoration of Civil and Political Rights to run for public office.
 
Do I need to apply with the Parole Board to restore my right to apply for a Notary Public?  Yes, you
must apply for a Restoration of Civil and Political Rights to apply to be a Notary Public.