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Certificate of Relief From Civil Disabilities Attorney in New York City

Nassau County Relief From Civil Disabilities Lawyer

Manhattan Lawyer Helps Restore Your Rights After a Conviction

When you think of the penalties associated with being convicted of a crime, you probably think about a person being sentenced to jail or prison, being required to pay fines, or being placed on probation. While such penalties are generally the most serious following a conviction, there are often other consequences that apply as well. For example, a criminal conviction could limit your employment options, prohibit you from obtaining a firearm license, a security guard license, or prevent you from running for public office.

At The Law Firm of Gregory J. Watford, Esq., PLLC, we understand the effects that a criminal conviction can have on all aspects of your life. We also know that New York State law provides several different ways through which you can protect or restore some of the privileges that are at risk when you are convicted. Our team of knowledgeable professionals will work with you in exploring options such as a Certificate of Relief From Civil Disabilities or a Certificate of Good Conduct.

Understanding Collateral Consequences in New York City

In New York State, a Certificate of Relief from Civil Disabilities (CRD) and a Certificate of Good Conduct (CGC) are official orders that remove and ease some of the "collateral consequences" of a criminal conviction. The collateral consequences of a conviction include a wide variety of considerations. For example, have certain convictions on your record could make it legally impossible for you to become a firefighter or police officer. A conviction on drug charges could also cause you to lose any federal student aid you are currently receiving. Other convictions could disqualify you from obtaining certain professional licenses or cause you to forfeit a license you already have. Your adoption/guardianship rights, voting rights, and immigration status can also be affected by criminal convictions.

What Are the Benefits of a Certificate of Relief from Civil Disabilities?

A Certificate of Relief from Civil Disabilities can be issued by either the court or the New York State Department of Corrections. As long as you are not currently incarcerated, you have the right to request a CRCD if you have no more than one felony conviction, regardless of how many misdemeanor convictions are on your record. You can apply for CRCD as early as the sentencing phase of your case, which could be important if your job or housing is in jeopardy as a result of your conviction. You may also apply anytime after sentencing, unless you are in prison.

In your application, you will need to include the offense for which you have been convicted, and the type of relief you are seeking. For example, if you are in danger of losing your eligibility for a real estate broker license, you would request relief from being barred from obtaining such a license. You should also include any documentation that you feel would help convince the court or the Department of Corrections to grant relief. This documentation could include a personal explanation of the situations, letters of recommendation from credible sources, and discharge paperwork from a substance abuse program, if applicable.

If granted, a CRCD can only remove the statutory restrictions associated with your conviction. Any discretionary consequences may still apply. To continue with the real estate license example, a CRCD might allow you to apply for your license despite your conviction, but the state licensing board is not obligated to grant your license. The board is still permitted to use its discretion—including to consider your conviction—in making its decision.

What is a Certificate of Good Conduct?

If you have at least two felony convictions on your record, your best hope for relief from collateral consequences is likely to be a Certificate of Good Conduct. A CGC is issued by the Department of Corrections. There is also a waiting period that applies, during which you must show good conduct and avoid criminal activity. The length of the waiting period may be up to five (5) years for Class A or Class B felonies, while Class C, D, or E felonies require a three (3) years of good conduct.

A CGC is similar to a Certificate of Relief from Civil Disabilities in that it can restore your eligibility for occupational licenses, student aid, housing opportunities, and more. A Certificate of Good Conduct is also required if you wish to hold a public office, no matter how many convictions are on your record.

Contact Us for Help

If your life has been affected by the collateral consequences of a criminal conviction, The Law Firm of Gregory J. Watford, Esq., PLLC can help you explore your options for seeking relief. We can assist you even if another attorney or attorneys handled your criminal case. Contact our office to discuss your situation and to determine the best course of action for moving forward. Call 646-580-6675 for a confidential consultation today. We serve clients in Manhattan, Brooklyn, and throughout the New York City metro area.

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