Alternatives to Sealing a Criminal Record in New York

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Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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UPDATED: Jul 16, 2021

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There are other options available for avoiding the consequences of a conviction that cannot be sealed. You can apply for a “Certificate of Relief from Civil Disabilities” or a “Certificate of Good Conduct”. Which certificate is best for your situation will depend on the specifics of your record.

Neither certificate wipes the record clean, but they can restore rights lost as a result of a conviction and can help in gaining employment or a license. If you have either of these certificates, an employer or licensing agency must assume that you are rehabilitated. This means that you should not be rejected for employment or refused a license due to a conviction, unless the conviction has a direct bearing on your ability to perform the job.

Additionally, in New York, there are a number of laws that otherwise bar persons who have been convicted of certain crimes from working particular jobs or getting certain licenses. The certificates, in most cases, remove these called statutory bars. Therefore, instead of being automatically disqualified for a particular job or license, you have the right to be considered for the position on an individual basis.

Obtaining either of these certificates does not guarantee a job or license. A certificate is not a pardon. It does not erase the record of your conviction. It must still be disclosed on applications if asked about prior arrest or convictions.

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