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Certificates of relief from disabilities and good conduct were made available by legislators for the purposes of helping first time offenders become rehabilitated and still lead something of a fulfilling life after felony conviction.
Correction Law §753(1)(a), which authorizes the granting of a Certificate of Relief from Civil Disabilities, recognizes that it is the public policy of New York state to "encourage the licensure and employment of persons previously convicted of one or more criminal offenses." Correction Law §753(2) further establishes that with respect to a "public agency" or "private employer," a certificate "shall create a presumption of rehabilitation."
Who is eligible for a Certificate of Relief from Disabilities?
In order to be eligible for a certificate of relief from disabilities, one must be convicted of one crime but cannot have been convicted of more than one felony. A felony can be classified by one that received a sentence of over 1 year in prison or of death.
What can a Certificate of Relief from Disabilities do and not do?
A certificate of relief from civil disabilities can offset the common downsides of felony conviction. They can be used to regain your right to vote, but most importantly, they can work to seal your record from many possible employers and help you keep any kind of professional license, permit, employment, or franchise.
Correction Law Article 23-A - which contains the authority for a Certificate of Relief from Civil Disabilities - sets up boundaries that are used in efforts to discourage unfair discrimination of an individual seeking employment with a public agency or private employer. The law establishes that one eligible for the certificate of relief from disabilities can be denied their employment or special license for sole reasons of the criminal conviction or of finding the applicant to be in poor moral character, unless when:
- the criminal offense is direct relationship to the employment or license sought
- giving the license or granting employment would be endangering the general public
In the very least, a Certificate of Relief from Civil Disabilities means that a public agency or private employer must give consideration to the Certificate of Relief from Disabilities issued to an applicant by creating that all-important presumption of rehabilitation.
Keep in mind, a Certificate of Relief from Civil Disabilities cannot do everything. For example, if one has been convicted of a New York DWI charge, a Certificate of Relief from Civil Disabilities will not prevent forfeiture of driver's licenses. (There are other legal options that exist - regarding the suspension and revocation of driving privileges – which ourNew York DWI attorneys can handle for you)
Experienced New York Post-Conviction Lawyers
At Sullivan & Brill, we can assist you in applying for a Certificate of Relief from Civil Disabilities. Our New York post-conviction attorneys have been representing clients with criminal records for close to 15 years. We have set out to make sure that one's past does not destroy their future.
If you or someone you know has been convicted of a state or federal crime and is looking for some remedy, contact us today. We can schedule your free case evaluation and speak with you about your situation.