The penalties of a felony conviction do not end once you have completed your jail sentence or paid restitution. Being saddled with a felony conviction can cost you your right to own a firearm, keep professional licenses that you earned pre-conviction, or apply for certain kinds of housing.
This type of mark on your criminal record can follow you for the rest of your life – even if you have made the effort to be rehabilitated and have no intentions of repeating past mistakes.
If you want to regain your rights after a felony conviction, you may want to look into applying for a Certificate of Relief from Disabilities. New Yorkers are eligible to receive this certificate within a year or two after they have been convicted, and some offenders may even be able to make a special case to have the process completed as early as their sentencing date.
Once an individual has received a Certificate of Relief from Disabilities, they may be able to enjoy the following benefits:
Additional employment opportunities. Felons are barred from many job positions, including working as peace officer and public servants. In other cases, an employer may look down upon an applicant due to their criminal past.
If the applicant has a Certificate of Relief from Disabilities, it will show up whenever anyone runs a background check. This certificate presents a presumption of rehabilitation, giving applicants a better chance at being hired.
However, the certificate will not erase an individual’s criminal past, so it could still be used against them during the hiring process.
Civil rights restoration. New York takes felony convictions very seriously. Many rights are taken away from felons, especially while they are incarcerated or in the process of completing their sentence.
A Certificate of Relief from Disabilities can restore some or all of these rights, including:
- The right to vote
- The right to serve on a jury in New York
- The right to receive a New York firearm license
- The right to be considered for professional licenses
It is important to note that this certificate will not guarantee that all of your rights are restored. In cases like applying for a firearm, there may still be federal bans in place for certain offenders, such as those who were convicted of domestic violence. In that situation, even if you possess a Certificate, you will not be able eligible to possess firearms.
Immigration rights. A felony conviction can have a serious impact on your ability to stay in the country if you are not a United States citizen. Each case is different, and a Certificate of Relief from Disabilities does not guarantee anyone the ability to avoid deportation or other immigration-related consequences.
That being said, a Certificate of Relief from Disabilities is a wonderful first step for anyone who is looking to prove their intent to rehabilitate and regain the rights of other Americans who don’t have a felony record.
If you would like more information about how to obtain this Certificate, as well as other options for restoring your rights in our state, talk to a New York defense lawyer.