In our last post, we noted that if your New York criminal record is holding you back, Chris Brown Law may be able to help “seal” your record, meaning it is not viewable in the public domain. Under § 160.59 of New York’s Criminal Procedure Law, sealing is available for misdemeanors and all but the most serious felonies.
If offenders are not eligible for the sealing of conviction records or if the court denies your petition in its wide discretion, all is not lost. Relief is more widely available in the New York Correction Law, which aims to “reduce the automatic rejection and community isolation that often accompany conviction of crimes” and “encourage licensure and employment of persons previously convicted of one or more criminal offenses.”
It’s important to understand what these certificates can and cannot do.
Certificates of Relief from Disabilities and Certificates of Good Conduct can be issued by the sentencing court or the Board of Parole. These certificates do not erase your criminal record but restore forfeited civil rights in the wake of a conviction and with respect to a public agency or private employer, creates a presumption of rehabilitation. Armed with one of these certificates, you can regain your right to vote and remove barriers to a professional license, permit, employment, or franchise.
These certificates cannot relieve an individual from disclosing a prior criminal conviction on an employment application, but you cannot be denied employment or special license soley because you are deemed to be of poor moral character, unless:
- the criminal offense is in direct relationship to the employment or license sought
- giving the license or granting employment would be endangering the general public