NEW YORK CERTIFICATES OF RELIEF FROM CIVIL DISABILITIES
OBTAINING CERTIFICATES OF REHABILITATION UNDER ARTICLE 700 OF THE CORRECTIONS LAW
If you have been convicted of a crime in New York State, the conviction can make it difficult for you to obtain a long list of professional licenses, such a s a liquor license, a license to possess a firearm and many others. The conviction can also prevent you from being licensed in a number of professions, such as a Certified Nurse’s Aid, a Registered Nurse, a Real Estate Broker, a Certified Public Accountant, and many others. Certificates of Relief from Civil Disabilities and Certificates of Good Conduct, remove automatic bars to licensing in most instances, and can also make it easier to obtain licensing even when there is no automatic bar. When these Certificates are issued to a person with a criminal conviction, the person is then considered to be “rehabilitated.”
A Certificate of Good Conduct (COGC) and a Certificate of Relief from Civil Disabilities (COR) both do more or less the same thing. First, they eliminate the automatic nature of some disabilities. Second, they also give you a better chance to get licensed or employed where an application requires you to disclose a prior conviction.
Whether you are applying for a COR or a COGC, you should present evidence that granting the certificate is consistent with your “rehabilitation” and also consistent with the “public interest.” This can include documents showing that you have held steady employment, pursued education, job training, and/or drug or alcohol rehabilitation, and that you aspire to a better profession or better employment. At BDB LLP we can help you submit the best application or motion possible.
There are some important differences between the two Certificates as far as eligibility is concerned. The best way to determine if you are eligible and which Certificate fits your situation, is to have a free consultation with an experienced and knowledgeable attorney at BDB LLP. However, some guidelines are provided here.
Certificate of Relief from Civil Disabilities (COR)
-Am I eligible for a COR?
A person is eligible for a COR if they have no more than one felony conviction in their background and/or any number of misdemeanours. If a person has more than one felony conviction, they will not be eligible for a COR, but they may be eligible for a Certificate of Good Conduct (COGC). -How do I apply for a COR?
If you were sentenced to probation or to a prison term under one year, you must apply to the Court that sentenced you. This can be done by written motion to the Court. It can also be done by completing the application for a COR and submitting it to the Clerk’s Office or to the Probation Department serving the Court that sentenced you.
If you were sentenced to a state prison term, which is generally a term longer that one year, then you must apply to the NYS Department of Corrections and Community Supervision (DOCCS). This is done by completing a much more involved application and submitting it to DOCCS.
If you apply to the Court, or to DOCCS, a probation or parole officer will be assigned to investigate your application. As part of the investigation, you will be interviewed and will be asked to provide documentation regarding your background, rehabilitation, residence history, earnings history and other information, as well as information about your past conviction record.
Certificate of Good Conduct (COGC)
Am eligible for a COGC?
You are eligible to apply for a Certificate of Good Conduct if you have engaged in “good conduct” for a minimum period of time, as follows:
- If you were convicted in New York State of any Class C, D or E felony, you may apply for a COGC after three years of good conduct.
- If you were convicted in New York State of any Class A or B felony, you may apply for a COGC after five years of good conduct.
- If you were convicted in another state of a misdemeanour, you may apply for a COGC after one year of good conduct.
- If you were convicted in another state of a felony, you may also apply to DOCCS for a COGC. To determine how many years of good conduct must pass before you apply, it is strongly suggested that you consult an attorney, as the rules are complicated. When applying for relief from an out of state conviction, you must specify which provisions of NY law will have an adverse impact on you because of your conviction.
- If you were convicted in Federal Court of a Federal Crime, you may also apply to DOCCS for a COGC. To determine when you can apply, it is strongly suggested that you consult an attorney, as the rules are complicated. When applying for relief from a federal conviction, you must specify which provision of NY law will have an adverse impact on you because of your conviction.
How do I apply for a COGC?
The only way to apply for a COGC is to prepare and submit a complete application to the Department of Corrections and Community supervision. Once it is submitted, a parole officer will be assigned to review and investigate your application. As with applying for a COR, you should present the same types of evidence regarding your background, rehabilitation, etc.
How can BDB LLP help you get a COGC or a COR?
At BDB LLP, we have a great deal of experience in pursuing Certificates of Rehabilitation for our clients. We can help you determine which Certificate you are eligible for, and then help you decide the best way to go about getting you a Certificate. Whether we are proceeding by written motion for a COR, or by application for either a COR or a COGC, we will take the time to learn the important details about your past, your present and where you want to go in the future. In a personal statement crafted to your situation, we will make sure to convey to either the Court, the Probation Department or Parole, why you are deserving of a Certificate and how granting it will benefit both you and the public.