The general purpose of obtaining a Disability relief certificate (“Certified”) in New York is for employment purposes. The Certificate restores some of the rights that were automatically lost due to a felony conviction; revives the holder of all listed confiscations, disabilities, or employment bans that are automatically imposed by law due to the conviction of the offense or offense listed on the certificate. The term expiration refers to the loss of present rights. The term disabilities and barriers to employment refer to future rights.

An employer or licensing agency should consider it as evidence that the offender is rehabilitated. This does not mean that you will automatically receive the job, only that it can only be rejected if there is other evidence that you are not qualified. Keep in mind that an employer can refuse employment even if you are eligible if your previous convictions are work related. The Certificate does not restore the right to hold public office, nor does it erase or seal the conviction. The governing law is Section 23 of the New York State Correctional Law.

Private agencies and authorities can still deny the rights that an offender previously had, based on further investigation. For example, a Certificate does not mean that an offender’s application for a pistol permit will be approved. A Certificate also does not cancel, or otherwise affect, the automatic confiscation of a DWI offender’s operator license for a felony.


You can only request a Certificate if you have been convicted of no crime or only one. It doesn’t matter if you have misdemeanor convictions. The felony convictions that should be considered are all New York State, Federal, and out-of-state convictions. Do not count the cases in which you were tried as a juvenile delinquent or juvenile delinquent.

If you have been convicted of more than one felony, you are not eligible for a Certificate of Disability Relief, but you may be eligible for a Certificate of Good Conduct.


There is a temporary and permanent Certificate of Disability Relief. A temporary certificate is one that is:

1. Issued by the Court to a defendant who is under a revocable sentence as defined in Section 700 of the Correction Act and the authority of the Courts to revoke said sentence has not expired, or

2. Issued by the New York State Board of Parole and the individual is still under supervision.

If the sentence is revocable, the Certificate may be revoked by the Court for violation of the conditions of the sentence, and will be revoked by the Court if it revokes the sentence and sends the defendants to prison or a jail like Rikers Island. If the person is on probation, the Board may revoke the certificate for any violation of the conditions or probation or release. If a temporary Certificate is to be revoked, the accused must be notified and given an opportunity to be heard. If the Certificate is not revoked, it will automatically become a permanent Certificate upon expiration of the termination of the court’s authority to revoke the sentence or the termination of probation.


Anyone considering obtaining a Certificate of Disability Exemption should determine a) what type of license or employment the person is seeking and 2) research current statutes to determine restrictions for individuals with felony convictions, and c) whether the subsequent conviction The Certificate of Disability Relief would provide assistance in obtaining the position.


The application process depends on the sentence you received and where you were sentenced:

Misdemeanor conviction and no prison sentence in New York State

If you have been convicted of a misdemeanor or felony but did not serve time in New York State Prison, you must file an application with the Court where you were convicted. One should contact the Clerk of the Court to learn the individual steps required by that specific Court. The sentencing court has the discretion to grant the Disability Exemption Certificate.

Felony conviction and time served in New York State Prison

Your New York criminal attorney should request the certificate from the New York state parole board. If you are currently on parole, contact your parole officer.

Federal out-of-state conviction for a misdemeanor or felony.

You must apply to the New York State Board of Parole for a Certificate of Exemption for that conviction.

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