My question involves criminal records for the state of: California
I am very confused on this issue. 5 years ago or so I got a felony destruction of property charge. Unfortunately, my lawyer was an idiot and the felony stuck. Last year I finally got my felony reduced to a misdemeanor and my misdemeanor was dismissed so now on the state side I have a "clean" record. However, my gun rights were not restored and I was told by a public defender that to get them restored I would have to go to court and get an appeal. That was 4 months ago and I never heard from the public defender's office and I just talked to my public defender who handled my dismissal after I fired my lawyer and he said that I can NEVER get my firearms back. He says state wise in California I am not considered a convicted felon or ex-felon and I can buy firearms or possess them no problem, however, he says on the federal side it is highly illegal to own or possess firearms and if the FBI or CIA catch me with firearms I could be in serious trouble. This makes me sound like a super criminal and I am not. It seems people keep telling me different things and I am so confused. This happened when I was a young adult and now my life is on track and I just want to put all of this behind me. The public defender's advice was to "stay away" from firearms or a career in firearms such as security or law enforcement which are my two career choices since I was in the military. Another lawyer told me that the only way to get them back is by getting a Governor's pardon and I have no idea what that is. Can someone please give me a real answer and tell me how I can actually get my rights restored. Also, can I vote again?