Certificate of Good Conduct & Certificate of Relief from Disabilities

What is a Certificate of Good Conduct & Relief of Disabilities?

According to New York Correction Law Section 752[1], Unfair discrimination against persons previously convicted of one or more criminal offenses is prohibited. To prevent such unfair discrimination, particularly in the workplace, New York has two forms of post-conviction relief: Certificate of Good Conduct, and Certificate of Relief from Disabilities (hereinafter “Certificate of Relief”). Both forms of relief are the best way to clean your criminal record and prove to a prospective employer or other person/organization that you have been rehabilitated. In fact, in Queens Borough, about 90% of defendants obtain a Certificate of Relief after their conviction.[2]

Who is Eligible?

There are different requirements for a Certificate of Good Conduct and Certificate of Relief. In other words, someone who is eligible for one may not be eligible for the other.

Certificate of Good Conduct

  • Convicted of 2 or more separate felonies;
  • You have waited a certain amount of years based on your offense (misdemeanor: 1 year; class C, D or E: 1 year; class A or B: 5 years)[3];
  • During this waiting period, you have completed/achieved good conduct in the community.

Certificate of Relief from Disabilities

  • Convicted of any number of misdemeanors and no more than one felony[4];
  • Released from a correctional facility or, with the recommendation of the supervising Parole Officer, at any time while under parole supervision.
What if I was Convicted in Another State?

You are still eligible for either Certificate. For the Certificate of Good Conduct, the good conduct waiting period will be determined by what level the conviction would be considered in New York State.

What are the Consequences?

The effect of obtaining a Certificate of Good Conduct or Certificate of Relief is that you have a higher likelihood of getting the job that you desire, maintaining your professional or firearm license, or not losing the job that you currently have. With such relief, you will have a formal document from a legitimate source (Department of Corrections) to show that you have in fact been reformed. A person is reformed when they have learned their lesson and would not commit the same offense if placed under similar circumstances. Although you may consider your self-representation of reformation to be credible, how much more effective would it be to have the representation by the very entity that punished you?

Another positive effect of obtaining one of these certificates is that it will automatically restore your right to vote, even while on parole supervision. Otherwise, a convicted felon’s right to vote is not restored until after s/he completes their maximum sentence or are discharged by the Board of Parole.

There is one difference, however, between both certificates: the Certificate of Good Conduct may restore your right to seek public office of a government job; whereas, the Certificate of Relief will not. Also, it is important to note that obtaining these certificates will restore your right to apply and be considered for employment or license, but does not guarantee it will be granted. Finally, if you receive a Certificate of Relief upon release or once you are placed on parole supervision, it is a temporary certificate. The certificate becomes permanent only once you are discharged from parole supervision. While it is temporary, the certificate may be revoked by action of Department of Corrections and Community Supervision.

How We can Help You

Obtaining a certificate from the Department of Corrections is just one factor that your employer will consider in deciding whether or not you have been rehabilitated. There are many other factors that your employer will take into account. Lavy Law is the best firm to help you obtain or maintain your job. As a former prosecutor, we have worked with a multitude of employers (as victims of crime) and are skilled in presenting the right evidence to win a case. Therefore, Lavy Law is the best firm to make a wining case on your behalf of your rehabilitation.

[1] “Unfair discrimination against persons previously convicted of one or more criminal offenses prohibited. No application for any license or employment, and no employment or license held by an individual, to which the provisions of this article are applicable, shall be denied or acted upon adversely by reason of the individual's having been previously convicted of one or more criminal offenses, or by reason of a finding of lack of "good moral character" when such finding is based upon the fact that the individual has previously been convicted of one or more criminal offenses, unless: (1) There is a direct relationship between one or more of the previous criminal offenses and the specific license or employment sought or held by the individual; or (2) the issuance or continuation of the license or the granting or continuation of the employment would involve an unreasonable risk to property or to the safety or welfare of specific individuals or the general public.” (NY Correction Law §752.)

[2] Interview with officer from Queens Probation Department, 11/13/15.

[3] The waiting period starts when you were last released from incarceration (prison or jail) to Community Supervision, or were released from incarceration (prison or jail) by maximum expiration of your sentence, or at the time of your last criminal conviction (which ever of these events comes last)

[4] Two or more felony convictions in the same court on the same day are counted as one felony for deciding which certificate you are eligible for.

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