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Restore Your Rights After a Felony

Thursday / January 8, 2015

The age old myth is that convicted felons cannot vote, or possess guns. Just because you have a felony on your record does not mean that you lose all your rights as a citizen.


Life after a felony conviction can be frustrating and difficult. However, the saying “If you do the crime, you have to do the time” does not extend indefinitely. Sure, when you are convicted of a felony some of your civil liberties get suspended: the right to vote, the right to hold public office of trust or profit, the right to serve as a juror, and the right to possess a firearm. A suspension is never permanent.


A.R.S. 13-912 of the Arizona criminal code sets out the process of restoration of your civil liberties for those with only one (1) felony conviction. Your rights are automatically restored upon completion of probation or upon receipt of your absolute discharge from imprisonment as long as you have paid all your fines and/or restitution. However, this does not apply to gun possession.


To restore your gun possession rights if you only have one felony, you must file an application with the Maricopa County Superior Court. For those convicted of a dangerous felony under A.R.S. 13-604, you lose your gun rights permanently. Also, those convicted of a serious offense under A.R.S. 13-604 are required to wait 10 years after their absolute discharge to apply for their gun rights.


This is a pretty easy process. You do the time associated with your one felony then you get your rights back. The trouble comes, though, when the felonies are more than just one.


If you have more than one felony on record then you must file an application to restore your civil liberties with the Maricopa County Superior Court. The tricky part is that the State requires you to have a separate application for each felony. For probation, you can apply when you have completed probation and all fines have been paid. For prison terms, you have to wait two years after your absolute discharge to apply if all your fines and restitution has been paid.


While you do not lose your civil rights permanently after a felony conviction (for the most part), there is a lot of paperwork and application you may need to fill out and file with the courts. Nobody is perfect and sometimes an application can get lost in the process. If you or anyone you know has been charged with a crime, immediately seek an attorney’s help to ensure the accused’s rights are protected. To schedule a no obligation consultation with my office, visit my website at or by calling me at 480-331-7568.

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