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Are you eligible to have your rights restored in Virginia?

On Behalf of | Dec 27, 2023 | Firm News |

When a Virginia resident faces conviction for a felony, they lose many rights. In some cases, those with felony convictions have the option to petition to have their rights restored. Losing your civil rights can create many problems, both professionally and personally. If you’ve had a felony conviction but now wish to have your rights restored, you can benefit from understanding more about how the process works.  

How to petition for rights restoration 

After a felony conviction, you lose your civil rights. This includes the right to vote, to serve on a jury, to run for office, to become a notary public, and to carry a firearm. In Virginia, the governor can restore all these rights except those related to firearms. If you want to petition the governor to restore your civil rights, there are some forms you must fill out. Anyone who has completed their term of incarceration can ask for the restoration of their rights. 

After filing the paperwork, the rights restoration process usually takes around 1 to 3 months. It’s important to know that the governor has discretion when it comes to rights restoration. Once that time has elapsed, you can check your status on the Secretary of Commonwealth’s website. If the governor chooses to restore your rights, you will receive a restoration order in the mail. Your status will also be available online. 

What about firearms rights? 

The court does not restore firearms rights in the same way as other civil rights. The governor does not have the authority to restore gun rights after a felony conviction. If you want to petition to get your firearms rights restored, you must contact your local circuit court for information on how to get the process started.  

Legal advice can help with rights restoration 

Navigating the process to get your civil rights restored can be complicated. Virginia requires you to fill out forms and meet certain requirements before the court will restore your rights. The process to get your firearms rights restored can be even more complex since you must navigate the local circuit court system in the county in which you reside.  

When attempting to have your rights restored, you may wish to seek legal advice from a criminal defense attorney. An attorney understands the rights restoration process and can help you submit the proper paperwork to get the process started. Having your civil rights restored may be the next step in getting your life back in order after a felony conviction.