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:
- 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
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.