Civil Rights Restoration

Restoration of Civil Rights

Virginia moved to an automatic restoration of rights for non-violent felons effective July 15, 2013.

Restoration of rights restores the rights which are lost upon a felony conviction. The Secretary of the Commonwealth processes requests to the Governor for the restoration of civil rights. These include the rights:

  • to vote
  • to run for and hold public office
  • to serve on juries
  • to serve as a Notary Public

Restoration of civil rights does not include the right to possess or transport any firearm, or to carry a concealed weapon.

Criteria for Non-Violent Felon Restoration of Rights

You may be eligible for automatic restoration of civil rights if you

  • Have been convicted of a non-violent felony in a Virginia court, or convicted in a U.S. District Court, military court or a court of another state or territory
  • Have completed serving the prison sentence and been released from probation or parole; and
  • Have paid all court costs, fines to the Commonwealth and restitution to the victims, satisfied all court-ordered conditions, and have no pending felony charges.

If you have had a past non-violent felony conviction(s) and have not had your rights restored to date you may request that your rights be restored in one of the following three ways:

Restoration of Rights for Those with Violent/More Serious Felonies

To be eligible for restoration of rights by the Governor, an applicant who has been convicted of a violent felony must:

  • Be a resident of Virginia, and/or have been convicted of a felony in a Virginia court, a U.S. District court or a military court
  • Be free from any sentence served or supervised probation and parole for a minimum of five years for a violent felony or drug distribution, drug manufacturing offense, any crimes against a minor, or an election law offense.
  • Have paid all court costs, fines, penalties and restitution and have no felony or misdemeanor charges pending.
  • Not have had a DWI in the five years immediately preceding the application.
  • Not have any misdemeanor convictions and/or pending criminal charges for five years for a violent felony or drug distribution, drug manufacturing offense, any crimes against a minor, or an election law offense.

The Office of the Secretary of the Commonwealth website provides forms and instructions on how to petition the Governor for restoration of civil rights.