August 20, 2019
Florida voters passed a constitutional amendment to restore rights to felons. Article VI, Section 4(a) of the Florida Constitution reads:
“No person convicted of a felony, or adjudicated in this or any other state to be mentally incompetent, shall be qualified to vote or hold office until restoration of civil rights or removal of disability. Except as provided in subsection (b) of this section, any disqualification from voting arising from a felony conviction shall terminate and voting rights shall be restored upon completion of all terms of sentence including parole or probation.”
Senate Bill 7066, which was signed into law by Governor DeSantis, defines the phrase “completion of all terms of sentence.” This definition is expansive, containing voluminous subsections. Notably, though, it specifies that all monetary fines must be satisfied to qualify for restoration of rights.
The law further says that if a felon has his outstanding fines converted into a civil lien, that too prevents qualifying for restoration. There is, however, a part of the law that says “A term required to be completed in accordance with this paragraph shall be deemed completed if the court modifies the original sentencing order to no longer require completion of such term.”
This simply means, if there are still outstanding monetary obligations associated with a felony conviction, rights won’t be restored. But, if a judge modifies the underlying obligations and removes them from the sentence, a felon may qualify for restoration of rights without having to pay.
The criminal defense lawyers at Turner O’Connor Kozlowski, P.L. can help if you are seeking to have your rights restored.