Jurisdiction Profiles

Below are brief summaries of the law and practice in each U.S. jurisdiction, including the federal system, relating to relief from the collateral consequences of conviction and restoration of rights. Along with each summary are links to the jurisdiction's full profile document and a set of charts that provide a side by side comparison of the jurisdictions, making it possible to see national patterns in restoration laws and policies.

Alabama

Loss & Restoration of Civil Rights:  All civil rights lost upon conviction of any felony involving “moral turpitude.”  Vote restored by administrative process or pardon; jury and office eligibility restored by pardon.

Firearms Privileges: Handgun privileges lost upon conviction of “crime of violence;” restored by pardon.

Pardon Process: Independent board appointed by governor exercises pardon power except in capital cases; board must make annual report to governor.  Eligible upon completion of sentence.  Public hearing required, with reasons given; separate procedure for restoration of rights.  Pardon process takes about one year.  500 full pardons each year, plus more than 2000 rights restorations.  

Judicial Expungement & Sealing: No expungement of adult convictions.  Records of most delinquency adjudications sealed after final discharge.  Non-conviction records deleted from rap sheet after 30 days. 

Consideration of Conviction in Employment and Licensing:  No general law regulating consideration of conviction.

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Alaska

Loss & Restoration of Civil Rights:  All civil rights lost upon conviction of any felony; restored by completion of sentence.

Firearms Privileges:  Concealable weapons privileges lost for 10 years for non-violent felonies and permanently for felonies involving violence; restored by pardon.

Pardon Process:  Governor decides; must consult parole board, but board's advice not binding.  No public hearing; parole board staff investigates, consults with DA and court, and prepares confidential recommendation to governor. Only three pardons since 1995.

Judicial Expungement & Sealing:  No provision for expungement of adult convictions.  Deferred sentencing and set-aside for certain offenses includes expungement.  Most juvenile records sealed within 30 days of 18th birthday, or five years after completion of sentence if charged as an adult.  No sealing of non-conviction records unless mistaken identity or false accusation proven beyond reasonable doubt. 

Consideration of Conviction in Employment and Licensing:  No general law regulating consideration of conviction.

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Arizona

Loss & Restoration of Civil Rights: All civil rights lost upon conviction of any felony.  Civil rights restored for first-time offenders upon completion of sentence and by judicial set-aside or pardon for repeat offenders. .

Firearms Privileges:  All firearm privileges lost for any felony conviction; restored by court on sliding timetable or by pardon, which is the exclusive means of restoration for dangerous offenses.

Pardon Process:  Governor decides but may not act without affirmative clemency board recommendation; governor must report pardons, with reasons, to the legislature.  Public hearing; publication of board recommendation to governor, with reasons.  Relieves legal consequences of conviction, but conviction must still be reported. Pardons increasingly rare since 1990; Gov. Brewer has issued no pardons.

Judicial Expungement & Sealing:  "Set-aside" available upon discharge for all but violent and sex offenses; relieves collateral consequences, but conviction must be disclosed and serves as predicate offense.  Juvenile adjudications may be set aside upon discharge, but remain predicate offense.  Non-conviction records may not be sealed or expunged but may be amended to note disposition. 

Consideration of Conviction in Employment and Licensing:  If civil rights restored, cannot be barred from licensure or public employment "solely because of" conviction; offense must have "reasonable relationship" to employment or occupation.   

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Arkansas

Loss & Restoration of Civil Rights:  Vote and jury eligibility lost upon conviction of any felony; office eligibility lost upon any malfeasance in office.  Vote restored by completion of sentence; jury eligibility restored by pardon; office eligibility restored by expungement.

Firearms Privileges:  All firearms privileges lost upon any felony conviction; restored by expungement or pardon.

Pardon Process:  Governor decides and must consult parole board, whose recommendation is not binding; governor must report to legislature on all grants, with reasons.  Board and governor must each give 30 days' public notice of intention to recommend or grant, respectively, with reasons. Relieves legal disabilities and is grounds for expungement; pardoned conviction may not serve as predicate or to enhance.  Firearms privileges restored separately. About 100 pardons each year.

Judicial Expungement & Sealing:  Deferred adjudication or diversion grounds for expungement or sealing for first offenders, but may serve as predicate.  Non-violent felony committed when less than 18 years old may also be expunged.  Non-conviction records may be expunged by sentencing court.

Consideration of Conviction in Employment and Licensing:  Conviction may be considered but may not bar licensing; five years following completion of sentence is "prima facie evidence of rehabilitation."  Reasons for denial of license must be given in writing. 

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California

Loss & Restoration of Civil Rights:  Vote lost upon conviction of any felony if sentenced to a term of imprisonment; jury eligibility lost upon conviction of any felony or malfeasance in office; office eligibility lost upon any malfeasance in office.  Vote restored upon completion of sentence, including parole; jury and office eligibility restored by pardon.

Firearms Privileges:  All firearm privileges lost upon any felony conviction and misdemeanor involving use of a firearm; restored by pardon.

Pardon Process:  Governor decides with optional consultation of parole board; for recidivists, board must be consulted and supreme court justices must recommend.  Pardon restores civil rights and removes occupational bars but does not expunge record; firearms privileges restored separately.  Pardons relatively frequent under Governer Brown. 

Judicial Expungement & Sealing:  Set-aside for probationers, misdemeanants, and minor felony offenders sentenced to county jail, with rights restored and disabilities removed; may still be used as predicate offense and disclosed in certain contexts. Felony convictions for which sentencing deferred are treated as misdemeanors following probation.  No expungement or sealing except for certain under-age misdemeanants.  Court may, with concurrence of prosecuting attorney, order that non-conviction records be sealed and destroyed. 

Consideration of Conviction in Employment and Licensing:  General nondiscrimination law bars consideration of felony offenses that have been set aside, or misdemeanors.  Suspension or revocation of license allowed only if crime is "substantially related" to qualifications. State-wide ban-the-box law for public employment. 

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Colorado

Loss & Restoration of Civil Rights:  Vote lost upon any felony conviction if sentenced to a term of imprisonment; jury eligibility not lost; office eligibility lost while incarcerated or on parole following conviction of any felony.  Vote and office eligibility restored upon completion of sentence, including parole.

Firearms Privileges:  All firearms privileges lost upon felony conviction; restored by pardon.

Pardon Process:  Governor decides with non-statutory advisory scheme, must report pardons to legislature, with reasons.  No eligibility restrictions.  No public hearing; governor must seek views of corrections authorities, DA, and judge.  Pardon restores civil rights and firearms privileges. Pardons infrequent.

Judicial Expungement & Sealing:  Relief from collateral consequences at sentencing for non-incarceration offenses. Sealing of drug conviction records, with eligibility period ranging from 3 years for petty offenses to 10 years for more serious felonies. Minor felonies may be knocked down to misdemeanors. Deferred sentencing and diversionary dispositions may also lead to sealing. Non-violent juvenile offenses may be expunged if no subsequent adjudications. Sealing of non-conviction records available where charges completely dismissed or person was acquitted. 

Consideration of Conviction in Employment and Licensing:  Conviction of felony involving moral turpitude cannot, by itself, prevent a person from obtaining public employment, or from receiving a license or permit required to pursue any profession or business in the state. State-wide ban-the-box for public employment and licensing. Protection from negligent hiring. Regulation of collateral consequences in agency rule-making.

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Connecticut

Loss & Restoration of Civil Rights:  Vote and office eligibility lost upon conviction of any felony if sentenced to a term of imprisonment; jury eligibility lost upon conviction of any felony.  Vote and office eligibility restored upon completion of sentence, including parole, except that vote remains lost while on probation for election law offense.  Jury eligibility automatically restored seven years after conviction unless person remains incarcerated.

Firearms Privileges:  Handgun privileges lost upon any felony convictions and "serious juvenile offenses;" restored by pardon.

Pardon Process:  Independent board appointed by governor exercises pardon power.  Eligibility five years after completion of sentence; provisional pardon may be sought any time after sentencing.  Public hearing generally required, with board giving reasons for denial.  Process takes about one year. Relieves all legal disabilities, and is basis for court order "erasing" conviction. About 400 pardon grants annually (about 60% of applicants get hearing, most of those granted).

Judicial Expungement & Sealing:  Several programs for deferred adjudication may result in "erasure" of record, with records destroyed after three years.  Upon reaching age of majority, juvenile offender may petition for erasure of police and court records if no subsequent convictions.  Non-conviction records erased.

Consideration of Conviction in Employment and Licensing:  Public employers and licensing authorities, with limited exceptions, may not disqualify an applicant automatically on the grounds of a prior conviction. Inquiry into erased convictions prohibited. State-wide ban-the-box in public employment.

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Delaware

Loss & Restoration of Civil Rights:  Vote lost upon conviction of any felony and certain misdemeanor election law violations; jury eligibility lost upon conviction of any felony; office eligibility lost upon conviction of any "infamous crime" as determined by a court.  Vote restored five years after completion of sentence for most felonies, 10 years for election law violations, and by pardon only for certain violent felonies. Jury eligibility restored by pardon.  Pardon of limited effect in restoring office eligibility.

Firearms Privileges:  All firearms privileges lost upon conviction for crimes of violence, drug offenses, and domestic violence crimes; restored only by pardon.

Pardon Process:  Governor decides but may not act without affirmative recommendation from clemency board composed of elected officials, chaired by lieutenant governor.  Eligible 3-5 years following completion of sentence.  Public hearings held at regular intervals, board recommendation and reasons announced at hearing.  Process takes about 6 months. Pardon relieves all legal disabilities except constitutional provisions barring someone convicted of "infamous crime" from holding state office or employment.   More than 200 pardons granted annually in recent years, about 75% of filings.

Judicial Expungement & Sealing:  Expungement upon request for first-time misdemeanors or violations if no subsequent convictions; cases involving diversion or deferred adjudication; pardoned misdemeanors or violations, juvenile adjudications. Expungement discretionary for some non-conviction records, mandatory for others. 

Consideration of Conviction in Employment and Licensing:  Denial or revocation of professional licenses based upon criminal conviction requires that the crime be "substantially related" to the profession or occupation at issue. Ban-the-box law, and time limits on consideration of conviction in public employment.  

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District of Columbia

Loss & Restoration of Civil Rights:  Vote and office eligibility lost only during incarceration following conviction of any felony and certain misdemeanor election law offenses; jury eligibility lost upon conviction of any felony.  Vote and office eligibility restored upon release; jury eligibility may be restored one year after completion of sentence. 

Firearms Privileges:  All firearms privileges lost for five years for drug offenses or crimes involving threats of bodily harm and lost permanently for certain classes of sex offenders, crimes of violence, and weapons offenses.  Restored by pardon.

Pardon Process:  Only the President can pardon violations of D.C. criminal offenses.  Five-year eligibility period (after completion of sentence or release from confinement).  Applications submitted to Justice Department Pardon Attorney, with no time limit on process.  Pardon relieves all legal disabilities, signifies good character.  Pardons rare.

Judicial Expungement & Sealing:  Expungement for deferred adjudication, treatment, and certain drug use and possession offenses, but offense remains a predicate.  Sealing for selected misdemeanors and felony "failure to appear" offense, after waiting period.  Juvenile sealing upon reaching age 18 after a two-year waiting period if no subsequent convictions.  Court authorized to seal non-conviction records after waiting period. 

Consideration of Conviction in Employment and Licensing:  Pre-employment inquiries into conviction record limited for most government positions until after initial employment screening.  For conviction to form basis of licensure denial, the crime must "bear[] directly upon the fitness" of the person to be licensed.

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Florida

Loss & Restoration of Civil Rights:  All civil rights lost upon conviction of any felony; restored by pardon or by restoration of rights five years after completion of sentence or seven years for serious offenses.

Firearms Privileges:  All firearms privileges lost upon conviction of any felony; restored by pardon after eight-year waiting period.

Pardon Process:  Governor and three cabinet officials act as pardon board; governor decides with concurrence of two cabinet officials.  Governor must report pardons and restorations to legislature.  Pardon eligibility begins 10 years following completion of sentence; firearms restoration eight years after completion of sentence, and 5-7 years for other civil rights.  Public hearing required for pardon, and for restoration of voting rights for some offenders.  Pardons sparingly granted.

Judicial Expungement & Sealing:  Non-conviction records may be sealed and/or expunged, with certain exceptions; expungement is also available after 10 years for first offenders granted deferred adjudication, and for non-violent first offender juveniles upon successful completion of diversion program.  Court may order sealing and/or expungement of non-conviction records for first offenders with certain exceptions. 

Consideration of Conviction in Employment and Licensing:  Conviction may be basis for disqualification from licensure or public employment only if "directly related" to the job.  Licensing boards may not reject on basis of conviction if civil rights have been restored unless offense is "directly related" to license.

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Georgia

Loss & Restoration of Civil Rights:  All civil rights lost upon conviction of any felony involving moral turpitude.  Vote restored upon completion of sentence; jury eligibility restored by pardon or by restoration of civil rights 10 years after completion of sentence if no subsequent conviction; office eligibility restored by pardon or by restoration of civil rights.

Firearms Privileges:  All firearms privileges lost upon conviction of any felony.  First offenders may apply for license 10 years after completion of sentence, five years after deferred adjudication, or otherwise by pardon.

Pardon Process:  Independent board appointed by governor exercises pardon power, reporting annually to legislature, governor, and AG.  Eligible five years after completion of sentence.  Paper review with no public hearing; board decides by majority vote and issues written decision.  Pardon relieves all legal disabilities except return to public office.  More than 400 pardons granted each year, and additional rights restorations. 

Judicial Expungement & Sealing:  No provision for sealing or expungement of adult convictions or arrests, but restrictions on access to youthful offender misdemeanor records, deferred adjudication, and nonconviction records. Deferred adjudication for first offenders leads to "complete exoneration" with all rights restored. Sealing of juvenile records after two years with finding of rehabilitation.   

Consideration of Conviction in Employment and Licensing:  Conviction for felony or crime involving moral turpitude may be grounds for license refusal or revocation regardless of whether it is related to practice of the licensed business or profession.

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Hawaii

Loss & Restoration of Civil Rights:  Vote lost while actually incarcerated following any felony conviction; jury and office eligibility lost upon conviction of any felony.  Vote restored upon release from incarceration; jury eligibility restored upon completion of sentence; office eligibility restored by pardon.

Firearms Privileges:  All firearms privileges lost upon conviction of any felony, drug crime, or crime of violence; restoration by pardon only if express.

Pardon Process:  Governor decides and may consult parole board.  No eligibility requirements.  No public hearing; parole board interviews applicant and makes recommendation to attorney general's office, which conducts an independent investigation and makes its own recommendation to the governor.  Relieves all legal disabilities and prohibitions but does not expunge record.  Pardons sparingly granted.

Judicial Expungement & Sealing:  Expungement after one year for nonviolent first offenders who receive deferred adjudication and for certain first time minor drug offenders.  Juveniles may move court for expungement; records of adjudications are automatically sealed.  Court may expunge non-conviction records.

Consideration of Conviction in Employment and Licensing:  Only crimes committed within 10 years may be considered if there is a rational relationship to job or occupation, with certain exceptions; arrest records may not be considered at all.  Discrimination based on conviction barred under state fair employment practices law. State-wide ban-the-box for public and private employment.

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Idaho

Loss & Restoration of Civil Rights:  All civil rights lost upon conviction of any felony; restored upon completion of sentence.

Firearms Privileges:  Firearms privileges lost only during period of sentence except for certain serious violent crimes, for which restoration is done through application to pardon board five years after completion of sentence.

Pardon Process:  Independent board appointed by governor decides for all but most serious offenses, which must be approved by the governor.  Eligibility begins three years after completion of sentence for non-violent offenses and five years for violent offenses.  Relieves legal disabilities, but does not restore firearms privileges.  In recent years 30-40 grants annually, about half of applications filed.

Judicial Expungement & Sealing:  Probationary sentences set-aside after successful completion of probation but not expunged or sealed.  Certain sex offenders can petition for expungement from registry after 10 years.  Juvenile convictions, except for serious offenses, may be expunged after a waiting period.

Consideration of Conviction in Employment and Licensing:  No general law regulating consideration of conviction.

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Illinois

Loss & Restoration of Civil Rights:  Vote lost while actually incarcerated following any felony conviction; jury service not lost; office lost upon conviction of any felony.  Vote restored upon release from incarceration; office restored upon completion of sentence for statewide offices and by pardon only for other offices.

Firearms Privileges:  All firearms privileges lost upon any felony conviction; restored by state police after 20 years under certain conditions, or by pardon.

Pardon Process:  Governor decides and may consult prisoner review board.  No eligibility requirements.  Public hearings held with confidential recommendations forwarded to the governor.  Relieves all legal disabilities and expunges record if pardon expressly authorizes.  Between April 2009 and May 2014, Gov. Quinn granted more than 1000 pardons. Board hears 500-600 applications each year, 30% from misdemeanants.

Judicial Expungement & Sealing:  Sealing for misdemeanors and two minor felonies (marijuana and prostitution) only.  Expungement after a waiting period following deferred adjudication for first-time drug offenders.  Pardon may authorize expungement.  Juvenile expungement upon petition to court; sealing for non-expunged records.  Expungement of non-conviction arrest records.

Consideration of Conviction in Employment and Licensing: Governor committed to state-wide ban-the-box legislation for public employment and licensing. Generally limits consideration of convictions in connection with occupational licensing only for certain employments and only where a person has received a certificate of rehabilitation; certain occupational licensing uses "direct relationship" test; state law prohibits discrimination based on conviction only if conviction is sealed or expunged; waiver by agency permits for certain healthcare positions. Negligent hiring protection where employer relied on certificate of certificate of relief from disabilities.

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Indiana

Loss & Restoration of Civil Rights:  Vote and jury service lost while actually incarcerated following conviction of any "infamous crime;" office lost upon conviction of any felony, and court may include 10-year ban from holding office or position of trust for misdemeanor bribery, conflict of interest, or official misconduct.  Vote and jury service restored upon release from incarceration; office restored by pardon.

Firearms Privileges:  Handgun privileges lost upon conviction of any felony or domestic battery conviction; can be restored by state police 15 years after offense, or by pardon.

Pardon Process:  Governor decides with parole board having authority to review applications and make advisory recommendations; governor must report to legislature at next scheduled meeting; recent governors have required a five-year waiting period and evidence of rehabilitation, with a 15-year waiting period for firearms restoration; parole board notifies victims, court, and prosecutor, and conducts an investigation and hearing where petitioner and interested parties are given an opportunity to be heard; pardon alleviates punishment and guilt, serving as basis for expungement.  Pardons sparingly granted.

Judicial Expungement & Sealing: Judicial expungement available for most felony convictions, with eligibility periods ranging from 7 to 10 years. (Expungement does not seal record but limits use to which conviction record may be put.) Expungement and sealing for misdemeanor convictions after 5 year waiting period, and for nonconviction records after one year.  Administrative sealing of convictions from state police after 15 years; misdemeanors, and Class D felonies not involving sex or violence may be sealed after 8 years. Pardon is automatic basis for expungement.  Court may expunge juvenile records at any time upon petition.  

Consideration of Conviction in Employment and Licensing:  Broad nondiscrimination protection for expunged and sealed offenses in employment process, including negligent hiring protection. Fair Credit Reporting Act limits reporting by background checking companies. Except for serious drug offenses, conviction may not be basis for license denial, revocation, or suspension if individual is required to obtain license to engage in a business, profession, or occupation.

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Iowa

Loss & Restoration of Civil Rights:  Vote and office lost upon conviction of any "infamous crime," which is one punishable by imprisonment; jury service not lost but conviction may serve as basis for challenge.  Vote and office restored by gubernatorial restoration of rights or pardon.

Firearms Privileges:  All firearms privileges lost upon conviction of any felony; restored by pardon, gubernatorial restoration of rights, or by expungement after a five-year waiting period; no restoration for forcible felonies or firearms offenses.

Pardon Process:  Governor decides and may consult parole board; governor must report pardons and reasons to legislature every two years; eligibility begins 10 years after completion of sentence; five-year waiting period for firearms restoration; no waiting period for restoration of rights; out-of-state and federal offenders eligible for restoration of rights; pardon relieves all legal disabilities. Average of 35 full pardons each year between 2005 and 2011 (fewer since 2009), with another 30-60 grants to restore civil rights and firearms privileges.

Judicial Expungement & Sealing:  Deferred adjudication followed by expungement for first offenses.  Automatic expungement of juvenile records at age 21 if no subsequent offenses; sealing of juvenile records at age 18 upon petition after a two-year waiting period with no subsequent offenses.

Consideration of Conviction in Employment and Licensing:  No general law regulating consideration of conviction in employment or licensure, but state applies a "direct relationship" test in connection with some licenses.

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Kansas

Loss & Restoration of Civil Rights:  All civil rights lost upon conviction of any felony; restored upon completion of sentence.

Firearms Privileges:  All firearms privileges lost upon conviction of a "person felony" or drug offense if a firearm was carried at time of offense; five-year or 10-year restrictions for other person felonies; 10-year restrictions for non-person felonies only if committed with a firearm.

Pardon Process:  Governor decides with mandatory, but non-binding, consultation of parole board; governor must report pardons, but not reasons, to legislature each year; no eligibility requirements; paper review with applicant required to publish application in a newspaper in the county of conviction and to provide notice to prosecutor, judge, and victims; pardon removes legal disabilities but does not expunge conviction.  Pardons rare (expungement preferred relief).

Judicial Expungement & Sealing:  Expungement available for most convictions, excluding serious violent and sex offenses, following a 3–5 year waiting period; no expungement for registrants under offender registration act; presumption in favor of expungement if court makes certain findings.  Juvenile expungement, except for most serious offenses, after hearing after offender reaches age 23 and after a two-year waiting period with no subsequent offenses.  Non- conviction records may be expunged on petition to court, subject to certain court-ordered grounds for disclosure.

Consideration of Conviction in Employment and Licensing:  No nondiscrimination rule, but it is a misdemeanor criminal offense for an employer to inquire into an applicant's criminal record without the applicant's consent.

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Kentucky

Loss & Restoration of Civil Rights:  Vote and jury service lost upon conviction of any felony; office lost upon conviction of any felony or "high misdemeanor."  All civil rights restored by pardon or gubernatorial restoration of rights.

Firearms Privileges:  All firearms privileges lost upon conviction of any felony after 1994 (handguns only for felony convictions between 1975 and 1994); restored by pardon.

Pardon Process:  Governor decides and may consult parole board; governor may also restore rights; governor must publicly file with legislature a list of pardons with reasons; restoration of rights eligible after expiration of sentence or discharge with no pending charges; pardon eligible after a seven-year waiting period after completion of sentence; federal and out-of-state offenders only eligible for restoration of rights; no public hearing; pardon applications sent directly to governor's office; full pardon relieves all legal disabilities. Pardons rare during term, restoration of rights more frequent. 

Judicial Expungement & Sealing:  Misdemeanor and Class D felony drug possession convictions may be expunged after five years; deferred adjudication for Class D felonies, which results in no conviction and expungement if charges dismissed; juvenile expungement and sealing for certain minor offenses after a two-year waiting period.  Court may expunge non-conviction records of misdemeanor or felony cases resulting in dismissal or acquittal.

Consideration of Conviction in Employment and Licensing:  A conviction may not be the basis for denying public employment or an occupational license unless the conviction is for a felony or misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment or, based on an analysis of certain factors, the offense "directly relates" to position or occupation sought.

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Louisiana

Loss & Restoration of Civil Rights:  All civil rights lost upon conviction of any felony.  Vote restored upon completion of sentence; jury service lost permanently; office restored upon completion of sentence for non-elective office and after another 15 years for elective office.

Firearms Privileges:  All firearms privileges lost upon conviction of any crime of violence, felony drug offense, or sex offense; restored by pardon or automatically 10 years after completion of sentence if no intervening felony.

Pardon Process:  Governor may not act without affirmative pardon board recommendation; eligibility begins after completion of sentence, plus payment of costs; public hearings held at regular intervals; approval of four out of five board members required; prosecutor and victims must be notified by board and applicant through publication in newspaper; full pardon restores "status of innocence."  Pardons infrequent.

Judicial Expungement & Sealing:  Expungement, except from law enforcement and certain licensing purposes, following deferred adjudication for certain misdemeanor and first-offense felony convictions sentenced to probation; juvenile expungement after two years for misdemeanors and five years for felonies, excluding serious offenses.  Non-conviction records may be expunged but remain available for certain licensing purposes.

Consideration of Conviction in Employment and Licensing:  A person can deemed ineligible to practice a licensed trade, occupation, or profession because of a prior criminal conviction only if it was a felony conviction that "directly relates" to the position or occupation sought.

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Maine

Loss & Restoration of Civil Rights:  No civil rights lost, even upon incarceration.

Firearms Privileges:  All firearms privileges lost for any felony; restored by pardon; may apply to carry a black powder gun five years after completion of sentence

Pardon Process:  Governor decides with a non-statutory advisory scheme; eligibility begins five years after completion of sentence; public hearings held at regular intervals, and board makes confidential recommendations to governor after conducting an investigation; applicant must notify prosecutor and post a notice in the newspaper in county of conviction; pardon relieves all legal disabilities. Pardon frequency varies with administration. 

Judicial Expungement & Sealing:  No general sealing or expungement laws; information regarding pardoned convictions is considered "non-conviction" data with limited availability and can be deleted from FBI database after 10 years; juvenile sealing upon petition after a three-year crime-free waiting period.

Consideration of Conviction in Employment and Licensing:  Convictions more than three years old or which call for less than a year in prison may not be considered in licensing decisions; certain professions (medical, nursing) have a 10-year debarment.

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Maryland

Loss & Restoration of Civil Rights:  Vote lost upon conviction of any felony; jury service lost upon conviction with any prison sentence exceeding six months; office eligibility lost if convicted while in office.  Vote restored upon completion of sentence, except for convictions of buying or selling votes, which is restored only by pardon; jury service restored by pardon; office eligibility regained when restored to the franchise.

Firearms Privileges:  All firearms privileges lost upon conviction of any felony or violent crime or misdemeanor carrying a penalty of more than two years imprisonment; restored by pardon.

Pardon Process:  Governor decides, and parole board may be consulted; state constitution requires governor to publish notice of pardon in newspaper and to report each pardon, with reasons, to legislature; felony convictions must have 10 crime-free years to be eligible or seven years if Parole Commission waiver is granted; misdemeanants must have five crime-free years; 20-year wait for crimes of violence and for controlled substances violations; paper review by parole board, but recommendation to governor is non-binding; pardon lifts all legal disabilities and penalties imposed by conviction; firearms restoration must be express in pardon.  Pardons sparing under current governor (O'Malley). 

Judicial Expungement & Sealing:  Expungement for specified nuisance convictions; deferred adjudication after three years; pardoned non-violent first offenders.  Arrest records not leading to charges automatically expunged; other non-conviction records, including probation before judgment, expunged upon petition after a waiting period.  Expungement available for charges transferred to juvenile court; sealing of juvenile records.

Consideration of Conviction in Employment and Licensing:  State-wide ban-the-box in public and private employment. No general law regulating consideration of conviction in employment or licensure.  However, a consumer reporting agency may not report conviction information that is older than seven years for purposes of employment if the job sought is expected to pay less than $20,000 annually.

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Massachusetts

Loss & Restoration of Civil Rights:  Vote lost upon conviction of any felony or misdemeanor if actually incarcerated; jury service lost upon conviction for felony or for misdemeanors while incarcerated; imprisonment during term in office results in forfeiture of office, but office is not lost otherwise.  Vote restored upon release; jury service restored seven years after completion of sentence or upon release for misdemeanors.

Firearms Privileges:  All firearms privileges lost upon conviction of felony or serious misdemeanor; right to possess shotgun or rifle restored to all but drug and violent offenders five years after conviction or release from prison, whichever is later; rights otherwise restored by pardon.

Pardon Process:  Governor may not act without affirmative recommendation of Governor's Council; governor required to report to legislature annually a list of pardons, but not reasons; eligibility begins 15 years after conviction or release from prison for felonies and 10 years for misdemeanors; petitions must be filed with Parole Board, which holds a public hearing and solicits recommendations from attorney general, prosecutor, and sentencing court; Board provides notice to victim and forwards recommendation to governor; records sealed upon pardon.  Pardons infrequent since 1990; none granted by Govs. Romney and Patrick.

Judicial Expungement & Sealing:  No general expungement, but felonies may be sealed after 10 years if no subsequent convictions; five years for misdemeanors; employers may not inquire into arrest records or misdemeanor convictions more than five years old; pardon automatically seals an is grounds for judicial expungement; non-conviction records may be sealed on court order.  Upon discharge from commitment, juvenile rights are restored and past commitment cannot be received in evidence.

Consideration of Conviction in Employment and Licensing:  No general law regulating consideration of conviction in employment or licensure, but licensing agencies may not disqualify based solely on conviction in certain specific professions; licensing authorities are prohibited from disqualifying the applicant based on a felony conviction only if the conviction has been pardoned; employers may not inquire into misdemeanor convictions more than 5 years old or arrest records. State-wide ban-the-box for public and private employment and licensing.

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Michigan

Loss & Restoration of Civil Rights:  Vote lost upon conviction of any felony or misdemeanor if actually incarcerated; jury service lost upon conviction of any felony; office lost upon conviction of offenses involving public corruption.  Vote restored upon release; jury service lost permanently unless conviction is pardoned or expunged; office restoration depends upon the offense.

Firearms Privileges:  All firearms privileges lost for any felony until three years after completion of sentence, except for certain violent or drug offenders who must wait five years and have their privileges restored by a concealed weapons licensing board; earlier restoration with pardon or expungement.

Pardon Process:  Governor decides after mandatory, but non-binding, consultation with parole board; governor required to report annually to legislature a list of pardons with reasons; no eligibility criteria; all applications referred to the board; if board holds a hearing, relevant officials must be notified; board's recommendation is a matter of public record; pardon restores offender to same position as if the offense had never been committed. Post-sentence pardons rare in recent years.

Judicial Expungement & Sealing:  Set-aside for certain first offenders five years following discharge or release; probation before judgment for drug first offenders with nonpublic records kept by law enforcement. With certain exceptions, up to three juvenile adjudications (one felony) may be set aside one year after adjudication or release from detention, or upon reaching age 18, whichever is later. Most juvenile diversion records must be destroyed at age 17 and most juvenile adjudication records must be destroyed upon reaching age 30. 

Consideration of Conviction in Employment and Licensing:  Conviction alone may not be basis for licensing authority to find that a person lacks good moral character, but it may be used as evidence in that determination; non-conviction records, convictions that did not result in incarceration, and convictions unrelated to capacity to serve the public cannot be considered.

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Minnesota

Loss & Restoration of Civil Rights:  All civil rights lost upon conviction of any felony; restored upon completion of sentence.

Firearms Privileges:  All firearms privileges lost upon conviction of any felony; restored upon completion of sentence except for crimes of violence; also restored by court or pardon.

Pardon Process:  Governor and high officials (attorney general, chief justice) act as pardon board, which is required to report to the legislature annually; for a "pardon extraordinary," which restores all right and effectively nullifies a conviction, eligibility requires five crime-free years from final discharge for nonviolent crimes or 10 crime-free years for violent offenses; commissioner of corrections screens applications and decides which cases should be heard by the board; public hearing with notice to officials and victim and decision announced at end of hearing; pardon extraordinary does not expunge or seal conviction.  Pardons issued sparingly.

Judicial Expungement & Sealing:  Statutory as well as common law expungement for most convictions and nonconviction records.  Court applies a balancing test. Deferred sentencing for certain felony convictions which may be knocked down to misdemeanors following probation. Sealing for juveniles tried as adults after discharge; expungement of juvenile adjudications  depending on offense and case disposition.

Consideration of Conviction in Employment and Licensing:  To deny public employment or license based upon a conviction, there must be a "direct relationship" between occupation/license and conviction history, and the individual must not have shown "sufficient rehabilitation and present fitness to perform" the job duties or licensed occupation; rehabilitation is established by one year without an arrest after release or by successful completion of probation or parole. State-wide ban-the-box for public and private employment.

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Mississippi

Loss & Restoration of Civil Rights:  Vote lost upon conviction of any crime listed as disqualifying in state constitution; jury service lost upon conviction of "infamous crimes," which are defined as any crime punishable by death or imprisonment; office lost for conviction of certain specified offenses.  Vote and office restored only by pardon; jury service restored five years after conviction.

Firearms Privileges:  All firearms privileges lost for any felony conviction; restored by pardon or by petition to the court.

Pardon Process:  Governor decides, and parole board may be consulted; informal policy holds that eligibility begins seven years after completion of sentence; applicants must publish notice prior to making application to the governor's office; parole board investigates and holds hearing on facially meritorious cases; pardon restores civil rights and removes employment disabilities, but does not result in expungement.  Pardons infrequent, process irregular.

Judicial Expungement & Sealing:  Expungement of first offender convictions for misdemeanors and some minor felonies, after a five-year waiting period; deferred adjudication followed by dismissal for misdemeanors and certain felonies, but no expungement unless otherwise provided by law.  Court may seal juvenile records for certain dispositions after reaching age 20, expunge non-conviction records.

Consideration of Conviction in Employment and Licensing:  No general law regulating consideration of conviction in employment or licensure.

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Missouri

Loss & Restoration of Civil Rights:  Vote and jury service lost upon conviction of any felony; office lost upon conviction of any felony or conviction of misconduct in office.  Vote and office restored upon completion of sentence; jury service restored only by pardon.

Firearms Privileges:  All firearms privileges, excluding antique weapons, lost upon conviction of any felony; restored only by pardon.

Pardon Process:  Governor decides, and parole board may be consulted for non-binding advice; eligibility begins three years after discharge; pardon applications forwarded to parole board for investigation; no public hearing, and hearings may be closed to the public; pardon relieves all legal disabilities but does not expunge.   Pardons infrequent.

Judicial Expungement & Sealing:  Expungement of first time alcohol-related misdemeanors after 10 years; sealing for suspended and probationary sentences, and for all cases disposed of favorably to the defendant.   Court may seal and destroy juvenile records after person reaches age 17; juvenile driving records may be expunged after two years or upon reaching age 21.

Consideration of Conviction in Employment and Licensing:  No denial of licenses "primarily" because of conviction history where sentence is fully discharged; conviction may be "some evidence of an absence of good moral character," but licensing board also considers the nature and date of the crime and evidence of good character.

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Montana

Loss & Restoration of Civil Rights:  Vote lost upon conviction of any felony if actually incarcerated; jury service and office lost upon conviction of any felony.  Vote restored upon release; jury service and office restored upon completion of sentence.

Firearms Privileges:  All firearms privileges lost if conviction involves use of dangerous weapons; restored by pardon or petition to the court.

Pardon Process:  Governor may not act without affirmative recommendation of board of pardons and parole, except in capital cases; governor must report pardons, with reasons, to legislature; no eligibility criteria; board may hold a hearing in meritorious cases where all sides are heard and a record made, but it is not required to do so; pardon removes "all legal consequences" of conviction and is grounds for expungement.  Pardons infrequent.

Judicial Expungement & Sealing:  Deferred sentencing for first felony offenders and misdemeanants, after which charges are dismissed and access to records is limited; automatic sealing of youth court and probation records upon reaching age 18.   Sealed records are not expunged or destroyed; pardon is grounds for judicial expungement.

Consideration of Conviction in Employment and Licensing:  Conviction shall not operate as a bar to licensure for any profession, but it may be considered.

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Nebraska

Loss & Restoration of Civil Rights:  All civil rights lost upon conviction of any felony.  Vote restored two years after completion of sentence; jury service and office restored only by "warrant of discharge" issued by Board of Pardons.

Firearms Privileges:  All firearms privileges lost upon conviction of any felony; restored only by pardon.

Pardon Process:  Governor and high officials (secretary of state and attorney general) act as pardon board; eligibility begins 10 years following completion of sentence for felonies and three years for misdemeanors; public hearings held at regular intervals; reasons for approval or denial not given; pardon restores civil rights other than vote; gun rights restored separately.  An average of 80 pardons granted each year, about 25% with firearms privileges. 60% of applicants are granted,

Judicial Expungement & Sealing:  Set-aside for probationers "nullifies" conviction and removes "all civil disabilities and disqualifications" but does not expunge or seal record; juvenile expungement only for arrests due to police error; limited sealing upon showing of rehabilitation.  Criminal history information that has not resulted in prosecution after one year may not be disseminated except to law enforcement agencies; expungement of arrest records resulting from law enforcement error.

Consideration of Conviction in Employment and Licensing:  No general law regulating consideration of conviction in employment or licensure. Ban-the-box for public employment.

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Nevada

Loss & Restoration of Civil Rights:  All civil rights lost upon conviction of any felony.  For first felony offenders convicted of less serious offenses, vote is restored upon completion of sentence, jury service is restored six years after completion of sentence, and office is restored four years after completion of sentence; others seeking vote restoration must do so from court or by pardon.

Firearms Privileges:  All firearms privileges lost upon conviction of any felony; restored by application to the sentencing court, Board of Parole Commissioners, or Board of Pardons.

Pardon Process:  Governor and high officials (justices of supreme court and attorney general) act as pardon board; governor must report every clemency action, without reasons, at the beginning of each legislative session; no formal eligibility requirements, but typically required to wait "a significant period of time;" public hearings held at regular intervals, except for non-violent first offenders; pardon removes all disabilities, including firearms and licensing bars; does not erase conviction.  May serve as predicate (ex. federal gun  prosecutions).  Process takes about one year.  About 20 grants each year since 2005, about half of those that apply.

Judicial Expungement & Sealing:  Petition to seal available after 7–15 years for felonies and 2-7 years for misdemeanors, if no subsequent arrest; deferred sentencing for persons adjudged an addict or alcoholic; upon successful completion of a treatment program the conviction may be set aside and the record sealed.  Sealing for probationers upon honorable discharge, other minor offenses under various statutes.  Automatic juvenile sealing for most offenses at age 21 or earlier upon petition after a three-year waiting period. Non-conviction records may be sealed at any time after completion of case.

Consideration of Conviction in Employment and Licensing:  No general law regulating consideration of conviction in employment or licensure, but applies a direct relationship test in connection with some licenses.

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New Hampshire

Loss & Restoration of Civil Rights:  Vote lost upon conviction of any felony if actually incarcerated; jury eligibility not lost; office eligibility lost upon conviction of any felony.  Vote restored upon release; office eligibility restored upon completion of sentence.

Firearms Privileges:  All firearms privileges lost for felonies "against the person or property of another" or a felony drug offense; restored by pardon or judicial annulment of nonviolent offenses.

Pardon Process:  Governor may not act without affirmative recommendation of Executive Council.  Persons eligible for "annulment" under state law generally are not considered for a pardon.  No public hearing; notice to prosecutor.  Pardon eliminates all consequences of conviction but does not expunge.  Pardons infrequent. 

Judicial Expungement & Sealing:  Less serious, non-violent offenses may be "annulled" after 1–10 year waiting period, with recidivists waiting longer; juvenile records sealed upon reaching age 21..  Non-conviction data may be expunged by court subject to "public welfare" standard. 

Consideration of Conviction in Employment and Licensing:  Inquiry into annulled offenses is limited.

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New Jersey

Loss & Restoration of Civil Rights:  Vote and jury eligibility lost upon conviction of any crime that is not a petty offense; office eligibility is forfeited upon conviction of a serious crime or one involving dishonesty while in office.  Vote restored upon completion of sentence; jury eligibility restored only by pardon; office eligibility is lost permanently if the offense is one "involving or touching on" the office.

Firearms Privileges:  All firearms privileges lost upon conviction for specific violent crimes and may be denied a handgun permit or FID card for any crime or domestic violence offense.  Restored by pardon or gubernatorial restoration of rights.

Pardon Process:  Governor decides and may consult parole board; governor must report pardons, with reasons, to legislature.  No eligibility criteria.  No public hearing required.  Pardon restores rights and makes eligible for expungement.  Pardons infrequent. 

Judicial Expungement & Sealing:  Expungement after 10 years for first offenders for less serious crimes.  Deferred adjudication and sealing for minor drug offenses after six-month waiting period.  Pardon leads to expungement.  Juvenile records may be expunged after a five-year waiting period with no subsequent convictions; special expungement procedures for drug convictions occurring before age 21.  Expungement of arrest and non-conviction data.

Consideration of Conviction in Employment and Licensing:  Licensing authorities may not discriminate on grounds of conviction unless reasonably related to occupation.  Pardon, expungement, or certificate of rehabilitation precludes licensing authorities from discriminating against or disqualifying an applicant. A certificate of rehabilitation issued by sentencing court or supervisory agency is effective to remove bars to public employment, with certain exceptions

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New Mexico

Loss & Restoration of Civil Rights:  All civil rights lost upon conviction of any felony.  Vote and jury eligibility restored upon completion of sentence; office eligibility restored by pardon.

Firearms Privileges:  All firearms privileges lost upon conviction of any felony for 10 years after completion of sentence; restored by pardon.

Pardon Process:  Governor decides and may consult parole board.  Eligibility begins after completion of sentence with current policy requiring longer waiting periods and non-consideration for certain serious offenses.  No public hearing required; victim notified.  Restores rights and removes disabilities but does not expunge.  Pardons infrequent. 

Judicial Expungement & Sealing:  Deferred sentencing available for all but first-degree felony cases; rights restoration but no expungement.  Expungement available for first offender drug possession if under age 18 at time of offense; court may seal juvenile delinquency records.  Expungement of arrest records for misdemeanors. 

Consideration of Conviction in Employment and Licensing:  In public employment and licensing decisions, agencies may consider conviction, but conviction may not be an automatic bar to employment/licensure.  There exists a presumption of rehabilitation three years after release or completion of parole/probation.  Reasons for denial must be stated in writing. State-wide ban-the-box for public employment.

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New York

Loss & Restoration of Civil Rights:  Vote lost upon conviction of any felony if sentenced to a term of actual imprisonment; jury eligibility lost upon conviction of any felony; office forfeiture and disqualification depends upon offense and office.  Vote restored upon completion of sentence, including parole; jury eligibility restored by pardon.

Firearms Privileges:  All firearms privileges lost upon conviction of any felony or serious offense; restored by pardon or by Certificate of Good Conduct.

Pardon Process:  Governor decides and may consult parole board; governor must report pardons, with reasons, to legislature annually.  No eligibility criteria; applicants generally not considered if alternative administrative remedies are available.  No public hearing required.  Pardon "exempts from further punishment" based on the conviction.  Pardons rare.

Judicial Expungement & Sealing:  Automatic expungement following deferred adjudication unless DA demonstrates "that the interests of justice require otherwise."  Conditional sealing of certain drug and other felony offenses and up to three misdemeanor convictions upon completion of diversion program; sealing also applicable to juvenile offender adjudications and proceedings.  Automatic sealing of non-conviction records upon termination of the action in favor of the accused unless DA demonstrates "that the interests of justice require otherwise."

Consideration of Conviction in Employment and Licensing:  Prohibits discrimination in employment and licensing based on conviction.  For conviction to form basis of denial, there must be a direct relationship and unreasonable risk to property or safety; applicant is entitled to reasons for denial.

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North Carolina

Loss & Restoration of Civil Rights:  All civil rights lost upon conviction of any felony; restored upon completion of sentence.

Firearms Privileges:  All firearms privileges lost upon conviction of any felony, with certain exceptions; restored by pardon or by court for non-violent first offenders 20 years after completion of sentence.

Pardon Process:  Governor decides and may consult parole board.  Eligibility begins five years after completion of sentence.  No public hearing required; DA and victim must be notified, with victim allowed to offer written statement.  Depending on type of pardon, effects range from assistance in securing employment to full restoration of rights, including firearms privileges.  Pardons rare.

Judicial Expungement & Sealing:  Minor non-violent felonies and misdemeanors may be expunged after 15 years.  Deferred adjudication for first-time minor drug offenders; expungement only if under age 21.  First offender felonies, misdemeanors, and certain juvenile offenses committed under age 18 or 21 may be expunged following a waiting period.  Non-conviction records may be expunged only if no prior felony convictions.

Consideration of Conviction in Employment and Licensing:  Certificate of Relief eliminates many collateral sanctions.  No general restriction on consideration of conviction in employment, except agency may consider Certificate of Relief favorably in determining whether a conviction should result in disqualification.

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North Dakota

Loss & Restoration of Civil Rights:  All civil rights lost upon conviction of any felony while actually incarcerated, with certain offenses excepted for jury eligibility.  Restored upon release.

Firearms Privileges:  All firearms privileges lost for 10-year period upon conviction of a felony involving violence or intimidation, and for a five-year period for non-violent felonies and Class A misdemeanors.  Restored by pardon only.

Pardon Process:  Governor decides and may consult pardons board.  No formal eligibility criteria, but applicant must demonstrate "compelling need."  No public hearing; DA notified.  Relieves collateral penalties but no expungement. Pardons infrequent.

Judicial Expungement & Sealing:  Minor felony convictions may be set aside and knocked down to misdemeanors after successful probation, but no expungement - except for nonconviction records.  First offender marijuana possession may be sealed by court if no subsequent conviction for two years.  Deferred adjudication and deferred imposition of sentence available, with expungement after successful completion.  Automatic sealing and destruction of juvenile records after a specified time. 

Consideration of Conviction in Employment and Licensing:  Licenses for most professions and occupations may be denied only if offense has direct bearing or if there is insufficient rehabilitation.  Applicant is entitled to written statement of reasons for denial.

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Ohio

Loss & Restoration of Civil Rights:  Vote lost upon conviction of any felony while actually incarcerated; jury and office eligibility lost upon conviction of any felony, with certain offenses involving malfeasance in office resulting in a seven-year or permanent disqualification from office.  Vote restored upon release; jury eligibility restored upon completion of sentence.

Firearms Privileges:  Firearms privileges lost only for felony crimes of violence and drug offenses; restored by court upon application after completion of sentence.

Pardon Process:  Governor decides but must consult parole board for non-binding advice; governor must report pardons to legislature.  Eligibility at any time.  Public hearings; no reasons given.  Pardon "erases" conviction and entitles recipient to sealing.  Pardon policy various with administration.  Pardons granted sparingly by present governor (Kasich).

Judicial Expungement & Sealing:  Sealing for up to one felony, excluding certain serious offenses, and/or up to two misdemeanors after a 1–3 year waiting period upon finding of rehabilitation.  Intervention in lieu of conviction available for certain non-serious first offenses.  Pardon serves as basis for sealing.  Delinquency records may be sealed six months following discharge, except murder or rape.  Sealing of non-conviction records. .

Consideration of Conviction in Employment and Licensing:  May be questioned about sealed conviction only if it bears direct and substantial relationship to the position sought. Certificate of Qualification for Employment available for court to avoid specific collateral consequences.

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Oklahoma

Loss & Restoration of Civil Rights:  Vote and jury eligibility lost upon conviction of any felony; office eligibility lost upon conviction of any felony and misdemeanors involving embezzlement.  Vote restored upon completion of sentence; jury eligibility restored by pardon; office eligibility restored 15 years after completion of sentence or by pardon.

Firearms Privileges:  Loss of concealed weapons privileges upon conviction of any felony; restoration for non-violent felony convictions by full pardon.

Pardon Process:  Governor may not act without affirmative recommendation of Board of Pardons and Parole; governor must report pardons, but not reasons, to legislature.  Eligibility begins after completion of sentence or five years under supervision; misdemeanants eligible.  Public hearings with favorable recommendations made public but no reasons given.  Applicant not required to appear. Relieves legal disabilities, except firearms; grounds for expungement for non-violent first offenders.  About 100 grants per year (80% of applicants). Process takes about 6 months. .

Judicial Expungement & Sealing:  First offender misdemeanors and non-violent felonies expunged after 10 years if no charges pending.  Deferred adjudication and probation leading to expungement for first offenders and misdemeanants.  Following pardon, expungement for non-violent offenders after 10 years and for those under age 18 at time of conviction. Records of juvenile adjudications may be expunged upon reaching age 21 with no subsequent convictions.  Non-conviction records may be expunged. 

Consideration of Conviction in Employment and Licensing:  No public or private employer may ask about or consider a sealed conviction. 

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Oregon

Loss & Restoration of Civil Rights:  All civil rights lost upon conviction of any felony while actually incarcerated; restored upon release.

Firearms Privileges:  All firearms privileges lost upon conviction of any felony.  Automatically restored 15 years after completion of sentence for felony first offenders except those convicted of homicide or committing offense with a weapon; otherwise restored by pardon or expungement.

Pardon Process:  Governor decides; must report pardons, with reasons, to legislature.  Eligibility generally extends only to misdemeanors and minor felonies for which set-aside is available.  No public hearing required.  Relieves all legal disabilities.  Pardons infrequent.

Judicial Expungement & Sealing:  Less serious, non-violent offenses may be set aside after a 1–20 year waiting period if there are no other convictions in the past 10 years or arrests within the past three years. Juvenile expungement and sealing upon reaching age 18 after a five-year waiting period.  Set-aside of non-conviction records one year after arrest if no charges filed or any time after an acquittal or dismissal.

Consideration of Conviction in Employment and Licensing:  May consider conviction, but may not bar licensure solely on those grounds; teachers licenses excepted.

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Pennsylvania

Loss & Restoration of Civil Rights:  Vote lost upon conviction of a felony only while actually incarcerated; jury eligibility lost upon conviction of any crime punishable by more than one year imprisonment; office eligibility lost upon conviction of any felony.  Vote restored upon release; jury and office eligibility restored by pardon only.

Firearms Privileges:  Firearms privileges lost for specified felony offenses, drug crimes, three or more DUI offenses within a five-year period, domestic violence offenses, and additional specified criminal conduct.  Restored upon application to a court, generally 10 years after completion of sentence.

Pardon Process:  Governor may not act without affirmative pardon board recommendation.  No eligibility requirements; misdemeanants may apply.  Public hearings with favorable recommendations announced publicly; no reasons given.  Relieves all legal disabilities; grounds for expungement.  About 100-150 pardons per year (fewer under present governor).

Judicial Expungement & Sealing:  Expungement available for "summary" offenses after five years, underage drinking offenses, probation cases without verdict for non-violent, first-time drug offenses, "violations" (submisdemeanors), and for those aged 70 if no arrests for 10 years.  Pardon is basis for expungement.  Juvenile expungement upon reaching age 18 after a five-year waiting period.  Expungement for non-conviction records automatic where no disposition indicated after 18 months or by court order.

Consideration of Conviction in Employment and Licensing:  Felony and misdemeanor convictions may be considered only to the extent they "relate to" an applicant's suitability for employment/licensure in the position sought. 

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Puerto Rico

Loss & Restoration of Civil Rights:  All civil rights lost upon conviction of any felony; restored upon completion of sentence. Since the 1980s, gubernatorial policy has allowed prisoners to vote. 

Firearms Privileges:  All firearms privileges lost for any felony conviction; restored by pardon or expungement.

Pardon Process:  Governor decides and may consult parole board.  No formal eligibility requirements, but recent policy has imposed a five-year waiting period after completion of sentence.  No public hearing.  "Eliminates" conviction from police and court records. 

Judicial Expungement & Sealing:  Broad expungement authority for all offenses, including violent felonies, after waiting period of six months to five years if applicant demonstrates "good moral reputation in the community."  Certificate of rehabilitation available for persons who have not completed prison term if deemed totally rehabilitated; conviction may not then be included in criminal record.  Revoked verdicts may be expunged. 

Consideration of Conviction in Employment and Licensing:  n/a

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Rhode Island

Loss & Restoration of Civil Rights:  Vote lost upon conviction of any felony while actually incarcerated; jury eligibility lost upon conviction of any felony; office eligibility lost upon conviction of any felony or misdemeanor resulting in a jail sentence of six months or more.  Vote restored upon release; jury eligibility restored upon completion of sentence; office eligibility restored three years after completion of sentence or earlier by pardon.

Firearms Privileges:  Firearms privileges lost for "crime of violence" convictions; restoration to felony domestic violence offenders after two years, otherwise by pardon.

Pardon Process:  Governor decides but may not act without affirmative recommendation of state senate.  No eligibility requirements.  No process specified.  Restores right to hold public office and lifts occupational and licensing bars.  Pardons rare (none since 2000).

Judicial Expungement & Sealing:  Expungement for non-violent first offenders 5–10 years after completion of sentence.  Sealing following deferred adjudication and successful completion of five-year probationary period.  Automatic sealing of juvenile records with limited exceptions.  Sealing of records of acquittals or other exonerations, if no prior conviction. 

Consideration of Conviction in Employment and Licensing:  Prohibits inquiries about arrests as unlawful employment practice, but specifically permits inquiries about convictions. State-wide ban-the-box for public and private employment.

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South Carolina

Loss & Restoration of Civil Rights:  Vote and office eligibility lost upon conviction of any felony, violation of election laws, or misdemeanor if sentenced to prison; jury eligibility lost upon conviction of any felony.  Vote and office eligibility restored upon completion of sentence; jury eligibility restored by pardon.

Firearms Privileges:  Handgun privileges lost upon conviction for a "crime of violence," including serious drug trafficking; restored by pardon. 

Pardon Process:  Independent board appointed by governor exercises pardon power, except in capital cases.  Eligibility following completion of sentence or after five years under supervision and payment of restitution in full. Public hearings. Pardon erases all legal effects of conviction, including sex offender registration and predicate effect. About 300 pardon grants each year.

Judicial Expungement & Sealing:  Expungement for first-offender misdemeanants if no other conviction within three years, for first-time minor drug offenders whose adjudication deferred, and for various other minor first-offenders. Juvenile expungement at age 18 for non-violent first offenders, with exceptions for serious crimes.  Non-conviction records destroyed if charges dismissed or person acquitted. 

Consideration of Conviction in Employment and Licensing:  Conviction may be considered, but applicant may not be denied a license solely due to a conviction unless the criminal conviction is directly related to the profession/occupation.

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South Dakota

Loss & Restoration of Civil Rights:  Vote lost upon conviction of any felony; jury eligibility lost upon conviction of any felony only if actually incarcerated, including a suspended sentence.  By statute, office eligibility is same as jury eligibility; by state constitution, office eligibility is same as voting.  All civil rights restored upon completion of sentence.

Firearms Privileges:  All firearms privileges lost upon conviction for any "crime of violence" and certain drug felonies; restored after 15 years with no further such convictions or by pardon. 

Pardon Process:  Governor refers applicants to Board of Pardons and Paroles, which must recommend pardon in order to have record sealed.  In general, must wait five years to apply. Public hearings; notice to DA and judge with publication in newspaper in county where crime committed.  Relieves legal disabilities, no predicate effect.  About 30-40 grants annually, 60% of applications. Process takes about six months.

Judicial Expungement & Sealing:  Sealing following deferred adjudication for first felony offenders, except for serious offenses.  Records of misdemeanor offenses may be destroyed after 10 years.  Pardon automatically seals record.  Sealing of juvenile records upon petition after a waiting period with finding of rehabilitation.  Non-conviction records automatically sealed, including deferred adjudication. 

Consideration of Conviction in Employment and Licensing:  No general law regulating consideration of conviction.

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Tennessee

Loss & Restoration of Civil Rights:  All civil rights lost upon conviction of any felony.  Vote restored upon completion of sentence; jury and office eligibility restored by application to the court.

Firearms Privileges:  Handguns forfeited upon conviction of felony; violent or drug convictions (including misdemeanors) forfeit all firearms privileges.  Restoration for non-violent non-drug felony offenders by pardon, judicial order, set-aside, or certificate of restoration; restoration for violent or drug crimes by pardon only.  Pardons infrequent.

Pardon Process:  Governor decides and may consult parole board; governor must report reasons to legislature "when requested."  Eligibility after completion of sentence and additional period of good conduct, demonstrated rehabilitation, and need.  Public hearing with notice to prosecutor; prior to a grant being made public, governor must notify AG and DA, who notify the victim.  Limited legal effect; does not restore civil or other rights. 

Judicial Expungement & Sealing:  Expungement eligibility for certain less-serious, non-violent offenses if not convicted of another offense and five years has elapsed since completion of sentence.  Expungement in first-offender deferred adjudication cases for misdemeanants and Class D felons.  Juvenile expungement at age 18 or earlier after a one-year waiting period with certain eligibility requirements.  Court may order "destruction" of non-conviction records. 

Consideration of Conviction in Employment and Licensing:  No general law regulating consideration of conviction.

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Texas

Loss & Restoration of Civil Rights:  Vote and jury eligibility lost upon conviction of any felony; office eligibility lost upon conviction for bribery, among other offenses.  Vote restored upon completion of sentence; jury and office eligibility restored by pardon or gubernatorial restoration of rights. 

Firearms Privileges:  All firearms privileges lost upon conviction of any felony; restored five years after completion of sentence only for the premises in which the individual lives.

Pardon Process:  Governor may not act without affirmative recommendation of Board of Pardons and Paroles.  Eligibility upon completion of sentence; misdemeanants may apply.  No public hearing.  Restores civil rights and removes some legal barriers to employment and licensing; basis for expungement.  Pardons granted sparingly.

Judicial Expungement & Sealing:  Deferred adjudication may result in sealing for most offenses, with a five-year waiting period for felonies; "expunction" for Class C misdemeanors.  "Expunction" also available for non-conviction records, pardoned convictions.  Automatic restricted access to juvenile records when offender reaches age 21, if no subsequent convictions after age 17; traditional sealing upon petition after a 2–5 year waiting period. 

Consideration of Conviction in Employment and Licensing:  Licensing authority may deny, suspend, or revoke license if conviction "directly relates to the duties and responsibilities of the licensed occupation" only if the offense is less than five years old or is a specified violent or sexual offense. 

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Utah

Loss & Restoration of Civil Rights:  Vote lost upon conviction of any felony or election-related misdemeanor, unless sentenced to probation; jury and office eligibility lost upon conviction of any felony.  Vote restored upon completion of sentence or by pardon; jury eligibility restored by expungement; office eligibility restored by expungement or after passage of 10 years since conviction and completion of sentence, including any period of supervision. 

Firearms Privileges:  All firearms privileges lost upon conviction of any felony; restored by expungement (except violent offenses) or pardon. 

Pardon Process:  Independent board appointed by the governor; majority vote required with reasons given.  Eligibility five years after expiration of sentence, restricted to offenses ineligible for expungement.  Public hearings; notice to DA and victim.  Restores civil rights.  Pardons infrequent.

Judicial Expungement & Sealing:  Most offenses may be expunged after a 3–7 year waiting period unless court finds this would be "contrary to public interest."  Pardon entitles person to expungement.  Juvenile records may be expunged after reaching age 18 following a one-year waiting period if no adult criminal record.  May petition for expungement of non-conviction records if acquittal or charges dismissed 30 days after arrest took place; Class C misdemeanors receiving deferred adjudication also may qualify. 

Consideration of Conviction in Employment and Licensing:  Employer may ask about felony conviction only if job-related.

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Vermont

Loss & Restoration of Civil Rights:  Vote and office eligibility not lost.  Jury eligibility lost upon conviction of any felony; restored only by pardon.

Firearms Privileges:  No firearms privileges lost under state law, but court may prohibit possession of firearms as a condition of probation. 

Pardon Process:  Governor decides and may consult parole board.  Eligibility generally 10 years after conviction; must show rehabilitation, benefit to society, and employment-related need.  No hearing.  Restores rights and relieves disabilities, including firearms.  Pardons infrequent.

Judicial Expungement & Sealing:  Expungement or sealing available for nonviolent non-sexual misdemeanors and two minor felonies (grand larceny, criminal mischief) after a 10-year waiting period if no further convictions, and after 20 years if no misdemeanor convictions within past 15 years.  Deferred sentencing and diversion may result in expungement; sealing available under first-offender diversion program two years after successful completion.  Juvenile records sealed two years after discharge unless additional charges pending.  Expungement or sealing of non-conviction records if charges not brought or dismissed before trial. 

Consideration of Conviction in Employment and Licensing:  In over 40 professions, conviction of a crime "related to" the profession or conviction of any felony is grounds for denial of license.

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Virgin Islands

Loss & Restoration of Civil Rights:  All civil rights lost upon conviction of any crime for which a prison sentence of more than a year is imposed; restored by pardon.

Firearms Privileges:  A person convicted of a crime punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year is ineligible for a license to carry a firearm; restored by pardon.

Pardon Process:  Governor has power to pardon offenses of local laws.  No information on process.

Judicial Expungement & Sealing:  Expungement of misdemeanor convictions upon petition to court, and of any offense after 5-year waitng period if under age 21 when offense committed.  Deferred adjudication for non-violent first offenders and first-time drug possessors, with expungement if under age 21 when offense committed.  Mandatory expungement of non-conviction records. 

Consideration of Conviction in Employment and Licensing:  n/a

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Virginia

Loss & Restoration of Civil Rights:  All civil rights lost upon conviction of any felony; restored by gubernatorial restoration of rights. 

Firearms Privileges:  All firearms privileges lost upon conviction of any felony and certain juvenile adjudications; restored by court order or pardon.

Pardon Process:  Governor decides and may consult parole board; governor must report pardons, with reasons, to legislature annually.  Five-year eligibility waiting period.  No hearing. "Simple" pardon does not expunge but serves as official forgiveness and removes some employment and education barriers. Pardons infrequent under current governor (McDonnell), rights restorations freely available.

Judicial Expungement & Sealing:  Deferred adjudication, but no expungement, for certain first-time drug offenders.  Absolute pardon entitles person to expungement.  Automatic destruction of most juvenile records if person is at least age 19 and five years have elapsed since any juvenile hearing in any case, with several exceptions.  Non-conviction records may be expunged where case results in acquittal, nolle prosequi, or dismissal.

Consideration of Conviction in Employment and Licensing:  May not be denied a license "solely because of" a conviction unless directly related to the occupation/profession for which a license is sought; conviction can be considered in determining applicant's fitness for the occupation/profession.

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Washington

Loss & Restoration of Civil Rights:  All civil rights lost upon conviction of any felony.  Vote provisionally restored if an individual is no longer in custody; fully restored upon completion of sentence by court order or gubernatorial restoration of rights.  Jury and office eligibility restored upon completion of sentence by court order or certificate of restoration issued by State Clemency and Pardons Board.

Firearms Privileges:  All firearms privileges lost upon conviction of violent, drug, or sex offenses; restored by pardon or by court order after waiting period based on a finding of rehabilitation.

Pardon Process:  Governor decides and may consult Clemency and Pardons Board; governor must report pardons, with reasons, to legislature.  No eligibility criteria.  Public hearing; DA and victim notified.  Relieves all legal disabilities and vacates conviction.  Pardons granted sparingly.

Judicial Expungement & Sealing:  All but the most serious offenses may be "vacated" after 5–10 year waiting period; most misdemeanors eligible after 3–5 year waiting period.  Pardon automatically vacates conviction.  Juvenile diversion records may be destroyed by court, or automatically in some situations; sealing available for most juvenile offenses after a crime-free 2–5 year waiting period.  Administrative sealing of non-conviction records two years after disposition favorable to defendant. 

Consideration of Conviction in Employment and Licensing:  May consider a conviction only if within the last 10 years and the crime "directly relates" to the employment or license sought; several exceptions apply. 

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West Virginia

Loss & Restoration of Civil Rights:  All civil rights lost upon conviction of any felony or bribery in an election.  Vote restored upon completion of sentence; jury eligibility restored by pardon; office eligibility restored upon completion of sentence for felonies and only by pardon for bribery of state officials.

Firearms Privileges:  All firearms privileges lost upon conviction for crimes punishable by imprisonment of at least one year and domestic violence misdemeanors.  Restored by petition to court; pardon necessary for felonies involving violence, drugs, or sexual offenses. 

Pardon Process:  Governor decides and may consult parole board; governor must report pardons, with reasons, to legislature.  No eligibility criteria.  No public hearing; board must notify DA and judge before making recommendation.  Lifts most legal barriers; does not restore firearms rights.  Pardons rare.

Judicial Expungement & Sealing:  Youthful (age 18-26) first misdemeanor convictions may be expunged after one year; violent, domestic violence, DUI, and crimes against children offenses excluded.  Pardon is basis for expungement after one year and at least five years after discharge of sentence.  Automatic juvenile sealing after a one-year waiting period or upon reaching age 18 unless the case is transferred to adult court.

Consideration of Conviction in Employment and Licensing:  No general law regulating consideration of conviction, but some professions require the conviction to be "directly related" to the activity for which a license is sought.

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Wisconsin

Loss & Restoration of Civil Rights:  All civil rights lost upon conviction of any felony or bribery.  Vote and jury eligibility restored upon completion of sentence; office eligibility restored by pardon. 

Firearms Privileges: All firearms privileges lost upon conviction of any felony; restored by pardon.

Pardon Process:  Governor decides and must communicate pardons, with reasons, to legislature annually.  Five-year eligibility waiting period; misdemeanants ineligible unless waiver granted.  Public hearing; notice to DA, judge, and victim and published in county newspaper.  Relieves legal disabilities but does not expunge or seal conviction.  No pardons under present governor (Walker).

Judicial Expungement & Sealing:  Misdemeanor and minor felony convictions may be expunged only if committed before age 25.  Deferred prosecution in domestic violence and some sex offense cases may lead to dismissal of charges, no conviction.  Juvenile expungement upon reaching age 17 with finding of offender benefit and no harm to society.

Consideration of Conviction in Employment and Licensing: Fair employment law bars discrimination by public and private employers and licensing boards unless the crime "substantially relates" to the particular job or licensed activity. 

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Wyoming

Loss & Restoration of Civil Rights:  All civil rights lost upon conviction of any felony; restored by pardon or gubernatorial restoration of rights.

Firearms Privileges:  All firearms privileges lost for any "violent felony" or drug offense; restored only through pardon.  Handgun privileges lost for violent misdemeanors within three years or drug misdemeanors within one year; restored only through expungement. 

Pardon Process:  Governor decides and must report pardons, with reasons, to legislature every two years.  Eligibility for pardon10 years after sentence, for restoration of rights 5 years. Sex offenses ineligible for either form of relief.  No public hearing.  Relieves legal disabilities but does not expunge. Pardons granted sparingly.

Judicial Expungement & Sealing:  Certain felony convictions may be expunged 10 years after sentence expires if no other felony convictions; court must find applicant is not a danger; certain misdemeanors after five years if offense did not involve use of a firearm.  Deferred sentencing for first felony offenders and misdemeanants, excluding certain serious crimes, but expungement is specifically prohibited.  Juvenile expungement upon petition after reaching age 18, with showing of rehabilitation.  Expungement of non-conviction records 180 days after dismissal of proceedings if no charges pending. 

Consideration of Conviction in Employment and Licensing:  No general law regulating consideration of conviction. 

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Federal

Loss & Restoration of Civil Rights:  Vote depends on state law for both state and federal offenders.  Federal jury eligibility is lost upon conviction in state or federal court of a crime punishable by more than one year if a person's "civil rights have not been restored."  The Constitution does not prevent individuals from holding federal office after conviction of any crime.  Most states that do not restore the right to vote automatically give federal offenders access to their restoration procedures.  Jury eligibility is only restored upon an affirmative act, such as pardon or expungement.

Firearms Privileges:  Persons with convictions in any court of a crime punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year are subject to the prohibition on possession of firearms under federal law, as are persons convicted of domestic violence offenses; restoration by presidential pardon only for federal offenders; restoration for state offenders under 18 U.S.C. 921(a)(20) & (33) (defining triggering offense) or 18 U.S.C. 925 (ATF relief). (Section 925 has not been funded since 1990.)

Pardon Process:  President decides; no reporting or notice requirement.  Eligibility five years after sentence or release from confinement.  No public hearing, paper record review, unlimited time.  Relieves all legal disabilities but does not expunge.  Pardons infrequent and irregular since 1990.

Judicial Expungement & Sealing:  No federal expungement, except where arrest or conviction invalid or subject to clerical error.  Deferred adjudication and expungement for first misdemeanor drug possession if under age 21 at time of offense. 

Consideration of Conviction in Employment and Licensing:  Only limitation found in Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, barring discrimination on grounds of race, etc.

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