Project Introduction

Relief from Collateral Consequences and Restoration of Rights:

State Profiles by Margaret Colgate Love


NACDL is pleased to offer, as a resource for its members and as a service to the public, a collection of individual downloadable documents that profile the law and practice in each U.S. jurisdiction relating to relief from the collateral consequences of conviction.  The profiles include provisions on loss and restoration of civil rights and firearms privileges, legal mechanisms for overcoming or mitigating collateral consequences, and provisions addressing non-discrimination in employment and licensing.  In addition to the 54 jurisdictional profiles, there is a set of 50-state charts that make it possible to see national patterns in restoration laws and policies.  The areas covered by the charts are summarized for each state.

These profiles and charts, prepared by NACDL member Margaret Love1, will be included in a forthcoming treatise on collateral consequences published jointly by NACDL and Thompson Reuters (West).  Margaret Colgate Love, Jenny Roberts & Cecelia M. Klingele, Collateral Consequences of a Criminal Conviction: Law, Policy and Practice (NACDL/West 2012) (forthcoming).  This treatise, the first of its kind to deal comprehensively with all aspects of a critical emerging practice area, will be available in late 2012.  

The profiles and charts posted here were originally published in 20062 and have now been updated and substantially expanded.   We are grateful to the many lawyers who helped prepare these materials for publication, and particularly to the law firm of Crowell & Moring LLP for its indispensable pro bono assistance.3 

The profiles and charts are intended as a resource for practitioners in all phases of the criminal justice system, for courts, for civil practitioners assisting clients whose court-imposed sentence has long since been discharged, for policymakers and advocates interested in reentry and reintegration of convicted persons, and of course for the people with a criminal record who are seeking to put their past behind them. It is increasingly important, particularly since the Supreme Court’s decision in Padilla v. Kentucky, for courts and practitioners to understand the penalties imposed on convicted persons beyond the sentence imposed by the court.  Government officials also need to be able to determine the rights and responsibilities of convicted individuals, both to ensure compliance with the law and to provide appropriate advice to affected individuals.  Individuals must understand the legal restrictions and social stigma to which they are subject by virtue of being convicted of a crime. Finally, it is important for legislators and citizens to understand the continuing burden that the law places on criminal offenders seeking a fresh start, so that they can make informed decisions about whether particular policy choices make sense.  A resource presently being developed by the American Bar Association under a grant from the National Institute of Justice will go a long way toward filling this gap.  See National Inventory of the Collateral Consequences of Conviction,  The purpose of the profiles posted here is to provide information about how these collateral consequences can be avoided or mitigated in each state.  The 50-state charts give an overview of how the legal systems of the several states provide for “second chances,” and allow state-to-state comparisons.

The information in the profiles is solely for educational and informational purposes, and does not constitute legal advice.  While every effort has been made to ensure its accuracy and currency, the law in this area is complex, voluminous, and constantly changing.  Therefore, users are cautioned to research and verify the information independently at an official source.   Nor does the interpretation of particular laws and rules on this website represent the official view of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers.  A date at the top of each profile and chart indicates the last time it was revised.  

Comments and contributions are warmly welcomed by the author, who intends to update these materials regularly as developments in the law warrant and new information becomes available.


  1. Law Office of Margaret Love,
  2. See Margaret Colgate Love, Relief from the Collateral Consequences of Conviction, a State-by-State Resource Guide (Hein 2006).  These profiles were originally posted on the website of The Sentencing Project. 
  3. The following lawyers from Crowell & Moring LLP assisted in reviewing the profiles and charts:  Harry Cohen, Ariel Applebaum, Christine Cwiertny, Tim Hughes, Michelle Jones, M. Kay Martin, David Mayberry, Brian O’Sullivan, Elaine Panagakos, Arlen Pyenson, Stephan Daniel Rice, Mike Robles, Chiemi Suzuki, Rachel Talbot, Kelly Tsai, Carolyn Wagner, Tacie Yoon.  The following law students also assisted: from the Washington College of Law, American University, Joshua Gaines ‘12, Diana Pak ‘12, and Marcella Coyne ’13, research assistants to Professor Jenny Roberts; from the University of Toledo School of Law, Katherine Greene ’13.  Zachary Ista, Washington College of Law ’12, provided valuable assistance in connection with preparing the “postcard” summaries for each state.  Last but by no means least, Gray Proctor did more than his share at a time when there were no other hands on deck.

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