Certificate of Relief From Civil Disabilities in New York

Although New York provides very limited means to seal or expunge criminal convictions, offenders may want to try to obtain a Certificate Of Relief From Civil Disabilities after their cases are completed. This document can limit the damage caused by a criminal conviction on your future employment prospects and civic rights, including the right to hold public office and the right to vote.

Here is the current state of the law, according to the New York State Division Of Criminal Justice Services website:

Section 701 provides that a certificate may relieve an eligible offender of any forfeiture or disability, or remove any bar to employment, automatically imposed by law by reason of conviction of the crime or the offense. A conviction for a crime specified in a certificate of relief from disabilities shall not cause automatic forfeiture of any license, permit, employment or franchise, including the right to register for or vote at an election, or automatic forfeiture of any other right or privilege, held by the eligible offender and covered by the certificate. However, a certificate can not overcome automatic forfeiture resulting from convictions for violations of Section 2806 (5) of the Public Health Law or Section 1193(2) of the Vehicle and Traffic Law. A certificate also does not permit the convicted person to retain or be eligible for public office, nor does it void the conviction as if it were a pardon (see Correction law 701 and 706).

An offender must make a written application to the court in order to obtain a Certificate Of Relief From Civil Disabilities. Not all applications are granted, and the legal issues involved can get complicated. You can choose to apply on your own, or seek the assistance of an attorney.

For convictions from Suffolk County, New York, here is a link to instructions and online forms. The site also contains more detailed information about the Certificate Of Relief From Civil Disabilities.

Remember, nothing contained in this article constitutes legal advice, nor should it be treated as legal advice. Also, laws change constantly, so do your own research or hire an attorney to make sure the laws mentioned here have not changed.  You may wish to consult an attorney to evaluate your particular situation.

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