Citizenship Rights

Conviction of a felony bars a person from exercising various “citizenship” rights, such as the right to vote, hold public office, and sit on a jury.[1] Generally, these citizenship rights are automatically restored in North Carolina when a person completes his or her criminal sentence (see Table 17). G.S. 13-1(1).[2]

If a person has been convicted in North Carolina of a felony, the agency, department, or court that has jurisdiction over the person must issue a certificate or order evidencing the restoration of the person’s citizenship rights once the person has completed his or her sentence. See G.S. 13-2(a). If the person has been convicted of a felony in another state or in federal court and has completed his or her sentence, the person may apply to the clerk of court in the North Carolina county where the person resides for a certificate evidencing the restoration of his or her citizenship rights; the clerk must issue the certificate if the person has completed his or her sentence. See G.S. 13-2(b). An unconditional pardon or satisfaction of all conditions of a conditional pardon also restores a person’s citizenship rights, but neither type of pardon is necessary to restoration of citizenship rights in North Carolina because restoration is automatic on a person’s completion of his or her sentence.

Completion of a felony sentence and restoration of citizenship rights does not automatically restore other rights lost or collateral consequences imposed as a result of a criminal conviction, such as the loss of firearm rights (discussed later in this guide).

Table 17. Restoration of Citizenship Rights

Matters Subject to Restoration of Citizenship Rights

Principal Restrictions on Restoration of Citizenship Rights

Applicable Statutes and Forms

  • All felony convictions
  • Completion of criminal sentence, including any period of incarceration, probation, or post-release supervision following incarceration

 

  • G.S. 13-1
  • AOC-CR-919M (Dec. 2007) (certificate of restoration for person with out-of-state or federal conviction)

 

 



[1] See N.C. Const. art. VI, sec. 2(3) (disqualification to vote); N.C. Const. art. VI, sec. 8 (disqualification to hold public office); G.S. 9-3 (disqualification from jury service); G.S. 28A-4-2(3) (disqualification as administrator of estate).

[2] In 2010, the North Carolina Constitution was amended to bar a person from holding the office of sheriff if convicted of a felony. The right to hold that office is not restored on completion of the person’s sentence. N.C. Const. art. VII, sec. 2.