In New York, anyone convicted of a felony or serious misdemeanor loses some rights. One of those rights is the right to hold public office, including as a police officer. Fortunately, the state of New York offers several options to restore the rights of a person who has been convicted of a crime but has gotten their life back on track. One of these options, the Certificate of Good Conduct, allows a person with a criminal record to seek public office.
What is a Certificate of Good Conduct?
A Certificate of Good Conduct (CGC) is a certificate that removes legal disabilities from persons convicted of offenses in New York. This is different from record sealing, which makes a criminal record unavailable for anyone except certain legal authorities to view. A CGC does not hide a person’s record, but it does restore certain rights, including the right to hold public office. To apply for a CGC, a person must wait a certain amount of time since his/her last conviction or imprisonment (1 year for a misdemeanor; 3 years for a class C, D, or E felony; 5 years for a class A or B felony) and have good conduct in the community during the waiting period. (see below)
It’s important to note that the state does not have to grant every application for a CGC. Even if the state does grant the application, it may only restore some, but not all, lost legal rights.
For that reason, it’s best to have an attorney help with the application. An attorney can make sure the paperwork is filed correctly and make the best arguments to restore all of a person’s legal rights.
Waiting Period To Apply For A Certificate Of Good Conduct:
- Misdemeanor: 1 year
- Felony (class C, D, or E): 3 years
- Felony (class A or B): 5 years
Certificate of Good Conduct vs. Certificate of Relief from Disabilities
A Certificate of Good Conduct is not the same as a Certificate of Relief from Disabilities. A Certificate of Relief from Disabilities is a different certificate that people convicted of a crime in New York can apply for. It has different application requirements and can be easier to receive, but it does not restore the right to hold public office, so someone with a Certificate of Relief cannot become a police officer.
Can Someone with a Certificate of Good Conduct Become a Police Officer?
A CGC removes the legal barrier between a convicted person and a job as a police officer. However, it does not guarantee employment as a police officer. New York law allows a government agency to take a person’s convictions into account when making hiring decisions if the conviction is relevant to the person’s potential job performance. A person convicted of violent crimes or fraud might still not be able to become a police officer even with a CGC. Anyone with questions about whether a conviction can be used to bar someone from public office should contact a lawyer.
Record Sealing and Employment as a Police Officer
A person with a sealed record may still have difficulty becoming a police officer. Although New York law normally prohibits employment discrimination based on sealed records, it makes an exception for law enforcement agencies. Thus, a person may be denied employment as a police officer even if his/her criminal record has been sealed. For that reason, anyone with a criminal record who wants to become a police officer should apply for a CGC.
Who Should I Contact?
If you have a criminal record and are interested in becoming a police officer, contact Rosenblum Law. Our criminal defense attorneys are experienced in helping people with records regain their rights. Email us or call 888-815-3649 today for a free consultation.