Up to 15 percent of adult residents in Georgia have a felony conviction on their records, which is higher than most states in the country. Of course, convicted felons lose many rights while they serve sentences in prison. What happens when a convicted person is on parole or probation? What about after a felon has served a full sentence? A cursory "Georgia felon" search may bring up many conflicting answers that leave people unsure of their own rights.
The truth is that Georgia is adapting to the changing demographics of the state. With so many residents in this situation, laws in Georgia have begun to change, and the state has restored some rights to convicted people who have served their time. If you or someone you know has a felony conviction, be sure to understand the rights and rules regarding ex-offenders in Georgia.
Can Felons Vote in Georgia?
As in most states, convicted people cannot vote in any government elections while they are in prison. Furthermore, Georgia residents with felony convictions cannot vote while on probation or parole. However, Georgia does automatically restore voting rights upon completion of supervised release requirements. While the state automatically restores the right to vote, ex-offenders must re-register before they can cast ballots.
Are Convicted Felons Allowed to Own a Gun?
After completing their prison sentences and any supervised release time, some felons may be able to own firearms once again legally. While voting rights come back automatically, Georgian ex-offenders must apply to regain gun rights. Not all convicted felons who apply will have their rights restored, but many will be able to own guns again. Over a five-year span, the state accepted approximately 1,400 of these applications and denied about 700.
How Can Felons Restore Other Rights?
While voting and gun ownership rights are perhaps the most talked-about rights that convicted felons can lose, such a conviction removes other privileges, such as running for public office, serving on a jury and being a notary public. Ex-offenders in Georgia who completed their sentences at least five years ago and are not required to register for the Sex-0ffenders list can apply to have their full rights restored. These applicants must have abided by the law in the previous five years, paid any fines and have no pending charges. Those with sex offense felonies have stricter conditions for restoring rights and must wait 10 years after completing their sentences.
How to Conduct a Felony Search in Georgia?
If you want to see if someone has a felony conviction on her record, you can use the online Georgia Felon Search (GAFS) service. First, accept the terms and conditions for the site. Then, you can enter a person's name, date of birth and sex. Once you pay $15, type your name and select your reason for searching, you can obtain a person's rap sheet.
Read More: Georgia Convicted Felon Firearms Laws
- PBS: Felony conviction rates are up nationwide. These states are reconsidering how they classify crimes
- Nonprofit Vote: Voting Rights for Ex-Offenders by State
- The Washington Times: GA board reinstates gun rights to convicted felons
- Georgia State Board of Pardons and Parole: Pardons & Restoration of Rights
- Georgia Technology Authority: Welcome to Georgia Felon Search
Mackenzie Maxwell has always been interested in law, working with legal issues since 2010. She served in Congress for some time, as part of the communications team for Silvestre Reyes and helped constituents understand the laws on the House floor. She stayed active in local politics to understand the laws that govern her area. As a writer, Mackenzie has worked with several lawyers to create thoughtful, helpful content.