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Restoration of Civil Rights in Texas

American citizens have certain enforceable rights, which are known as “civil rights.” In the United States, civil rights include the right to vote, freedom of speech, the right to serve on a federal jury, the right to federal employment, and the right to own a firearm.

In Texas, when a person has a felony conviction, it affects four major privileges: 1) the right to vote, 2) the right to serve on a federal jury, 3) the right to hold federal office or employment, and 4) the right to own or possess a firearm.

As of September 1, 1997, the Texas legislature restored the voting rights to convicted felons in Texas once the offender fully discharges their felony sentence, including:

  • Incarceration,
  • Parole,
  • Supervision, or the
  • Probationary period ordered by the court.

Can I ever serve on a federal jury?

If you have been convicted of a state or federal crime that was punishable by a term of imprisonment of one year or more, then you are automatically disqualified from serving on a federal grand or petit jury – that is if your civil rights have not been restored.

To have your civil rights restored in this situation, you would have to receive a pardon. Under Texas law, convicted felons are prohibited from serving on juries.

The Right to Hold Federal Office or Employment

Can you ever run for federal office? While the United States Constitution does not prohibit felons from holding elected federal office, there are federal statutes which state that a conviction can lead to ineligibility for office.

Texas law does prohibit convicted felons from running for public office, or holding any public office position. However, a full pardon does restore one’s eligibility to run for office.

Right to Possess or Purchase Firearms

Under the Gun Control Act of 1968, convicted felons cannot possess, transport, or receive any type of ammunition, firearm, or explosive materials. Further, the Supreme Court held that federal felons cannot own firearms until their civil rights have been restored.

To learn more about civil rights restoration in Plano or Dallas, contact a Plano criminal defense lawyer from The Zendeh Del Law Firm, PLLC.