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What are certificates of relief from civil disabilities?

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You should not take criminal charges lightly. Even if you are only charged with a misdemeanor, a conviction could seriously derail your life and goals. If your case has already been closed and you are dealing with the consequences of a conviction, though, there are several options you may consider for restoring your life. Applying for a certificate of relief from civil disabilities is one such opportunity.

The certificate serves some of the same purposes achievable through expungement, but it is much easier to attain. There are several other things you should know about this option if you are hoping to put your crimes behind you and move on with your life.

It is exclusive to New York

The certificate of relief from civil disabilities was created for and available only to those who are in New York. More specifically, according to the Division of Criminal Justice Services in New York State, eligible applicants must have served in a New York correctional facility or be a resident of the state with a conviction elsewhere. Such applicants can seek the certificate if they satisfy additional criteria.

State and federal crimes are eligible

Though only New York applicants are allowed, both state and federal convictions are eligible for consideration under the certificate. Regarding eligible crimes, however, an applicant cannot have more than one felony conviction on their record. The certificate does remove any bars to employment imposed by the conviction, too, but it does not prevent employers from using their own discretion.

It may be permanent or temporary

A certificate of relief from civil disabilities is a versatile option. The overseeing court may grant the certificate either permanently or temporarily, and it may be contingent upon additional criteria specific to an applicant’s unique situation. It may be beneficial to invest in legal representation to make the pursuit easier.

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James L. Riotto
Criminal Defense Lawyer

James L. Riotto is an accomplished criminal defense attorney serving clients in New York. With an extensive background in law enforcement and criminal prosecution, his approach to each case is unique and informed by years of experience with the New York criminal justice system. As a graduate from Albany Law School and before going on to start his own practice, James worked at the Albany County District Attorney's Office, where he helped prosecute many DWI offenses. His inside knowledge of the tactics used to gain convictions provides him with a particular advantage when defending against DUI and other criminal charges.

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Adam D. Staier
Of Counsel

About Attorney Adam Staier has spent the last seven years practicing criminal defense law throughout upstate New York and the Capital Region. He began his legal career through internships in civil law, indigent legal representation and federal energy law regulation. Finding a passion in criminal law, Mr. Staier held internships handling both prosecution and defense…

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William M. Swift
Associate Attorney

About William M. Swift is an associate attorney at the Law Office of James L. Riotto and brings 20 years of experience to our clients. His practice focuses on personal injury cases and criminal matters. He has successfully represented individuals in felony, misdemeanor cases. Additionally, he has extensive knowledge in DMV administrative proceedings involving suspensions…

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