If you are charged with a crime, it can be difficult to imagine something worse. But there is something: being convicted.
You probably know that you may face consequences such as jail time, fines, probation, community service, and so on if you are convicted. What you may not realize though is that even after you serve your sentence, you still have to deal with the consequences of having a criminal record.
State and federal laws prohibit offenders (primarily felony offenders, though those with misdemeanors aren’t necessarily off the hook) from exercising certain constitutional rights, obtaining certain professional licenses, and holding certain types of employment.
Sometimes, the restriction is based on the type of crime committed. Most restrictions, however, apply to all felony offenders. These are called mandatory forfeitures and disabilities.
Review the list of mandatory forfeitures and disabilities that can result from a conviction in New York. If any of these will have a large impact on your life and career after you have completed your sentence, it is important to talk to your lawyer immediately.
What Are the Mandatory Forfeitures and Disabilities from a New York Conviction?
Individuals with a New York felony conviction are automatically barred from the following:
- Obtaining the license to be a security guard or private investigator
- Ability to be a fiduciary
- Ability to serve as a juror
- Employment at a liquor store
- Employment at a nursing home
- Obtaining a Notary Public license
- Obtaining a firearm license
- Possession of a rifle or shotgun
- Obtaining the license to be a real estate broker or salesperson
- Ability to hold a public service office
The following rights or opportunities may be taken away from offenders who have committed specific crimes:
- Ability to adopt children or become a foster parent (felony conviction involving physical assault, drug-related offenses, crimes against children)
- Obtaining a license as a junk dealer (larceny or related conviction)
- Ability to receive federal aid (conviction for possession or sale of controlled substances)
- Ability to receive food stamps or TANF funds (controlled substance convictions)
- Ability to reenter or stay in country as immigrant (aggravated felony convictions, controlled substance convictions, gambling convictions, conviction of crimes of moral turpitude, etc.)
Can You Avoid These Forfeitures and Disabilities?
Fortunately, there are options available for individuals who have been convicted of a crime and, as a result, are automatically barred from certain rights or abilities.
Some examples of strategies available to offenders include:
- Certificate of Relief from Civil Disabilities
- Certificate of Good Conduct
- Criminal Record Sealing
Let’s say, for example, that an offender with ambitions in a specialized area of sales was convicted for felony assault. That individual wants to obtain a license to be a salesperson, but is barred from this due to their criminal record. If the individual and their counsel can show a judge or an administrative agency that the individual is taking the steps to rehabilitate themselves and would benefit by getting a license and job in sales, they may be able to get relief from that automatic legal disability.
Every case is different, and yours may call for a different strategy. If you have been convicted, talk to a NY criminal lawyer.