It is probably widely understood that when a person is convicted of a felony crime, he or she loses their civil rights. But what happens after the defendant has completed the terms of the sentence imposed by the court?
The answer isn’t all that straightforward. In general terms, once convicted felons have fulfilled the obligations of their sentence, many of their rights are restored. But the timing and the scope depends on the laws of a given state.
In Minnesota, for example, the law says that once a case has been discharged, they are restored to full citizenship. That means they can vote, hold public office, generally get on with their lives.
Even the right to bear arms can be restored in many cases. In fact, Minnesota is widely considered to be among the easiest states in which convicted felons can see their gun rights restored. A conviction for a crime of violence is about the only thing that can stand in the way of an individual being able to possess firearms.
Once a felon is released from confinement and if he or she can show good cause, a petition to have firearm rights restored can be filed with any court in the state.
It should be noted here that if the felony case against the defendant was handled in federal court, the rules are different. Generally speaking, federal felons have to obtain a presidential pardon to see their gun rights restored.
Protecting defendant rights and restoring them after conviction are clearly complicated tasks. To have assurance that you are doing all that is possible, consult with an experienced attorney.