Rights You Give Up With A Florida Criminal Conviction
Florida ranks third among US states in terms of population according to the 2020 Census figures, so it is not surprising to learn that the number of arrests is high. The Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) reports that state, county, and local officials make a whopping 680,000 arrests throughout the state in an average year. These figures include more than 33,100 individuals apprehended for violent crimes, 85,400 charged with property offenses, and almost 32,200 arrests for drunk driving.
If you are the defendant in a pending criminal case, you know that fines, jail time, and probation may be in your future. However, you might not realize that implications can follow you around long after you serve your sentence. A Fort Lauderdale criminal defense attorney can provide details, but note the following rights you may lose when convicted.
The Florida Constitution provides that a person’s right to vote is suspended upon conviction of a felony, until restoration or removal of disability; in 2018, this provision was amended by a ballot initiative, wherein voters decided to expand the rights of certain individuals convicted of a felony. Under the current state of the law:
- The voting disqualification terminates and your rights are restored upon completion of all terms of your sentence.
- Those convicted of murder or felony sex crimes are not covered by the amendment, so they must petition for formal restoration of rights.
- Completion of all sentencing terms includes incarceration and probation; however, it may also include payment of fines, fees, and restitution when the defendant has the ability to pay.
Holding Public Office
In addition to imposing a disqualification on voting after a felony conviction, the Florida Constitution also prohibits individuals from holding public office. The rule could make you ineligible to run for an elected position, and it could lead to removal from an office you already hold. The amendment that restores voting rights after a felon serves his or her sentence does NOT apply to the right to hold public office.
Florida law imposes a prohibition on gun ownership if a person is convicted of a felony in the state, a federal felony, or a conviction in another US state which is the equivalent of a felony. Any prison term in another jurisdiction which results in at least one year incarceration is considered a felony.
Serving on a Jury
You are disqualified from serving as a juror if you were convicted of a felony, or if you are a defendant in a current felony or misdemeanor case. Not many people appreciate this right, but consider the important role you play in the outcome of a case.
Discuss Options with a Florida Criminal Defense Attorney
When you know that you could forgo these and other important rights, you realize that a solid defense is critical; post-conviction relief, such as a pardon or expungement, may also be effective strategies to avoid the harsh implications. For more information on defenses and ways to avoid a criminal conviction, please contact attorney Kevin J. Kulik. You can set up a consultation at our Fort Lauderdale office by calling 954.761.9411 or visiting our website.