Appeals and Certificates of Relief from Disabilities

Challenging a criminal conviction is a daunting process full of complex procedures and rules. If you have been convicted of a crime and are considering an appeal or other post-conviction litigation, representation by an experienced appellate lawyer is critical.

Many people think that an appeal is opportunity to re-argue the facts of the case, or show evidence that was not presented at the first trial. Appellate courts, however, cannot usually consider that type of evidence. Appellate courts generally only consider legal issues—mistakes made by the judge and/or the lawyer during the first trial. Those errors can include improperly admitting or restricting evidence at trial, improper arguments made by the lawyers, incorrect jury instruction given by the judge at the conclusion of the trial, and issues relating to the effectiveness of a defendant’s lawyer.
If you need an experienced criminal appeals lawyer, contact Levene Gouldin & Thompson to discuss your case with one of our top appellate attorneys.


A certificate of rehabilitation is a way to remove certain collateral consequences of a criminal conviction.
Certificates of rehabilitation are available in two forms: a Certificate of Relief from Disabilities and a Certificate of Good Conduct. Many first-time offenders are eligible for a Certificate of Relief from Disabilities, which may be issued at sentencing or anytime thereafter by the state parole office or the sentencing court. For individuals with multiple felony convictions, a Certificate of Good Conduct may be issued by the Department of Corrections but requires a minimum probationary period to pass with no new arrests before an application can be made.


A person is eligible to receive a Certificate of Relief from Disabilities if he/she has been convicted of a crime or offense, but has not been convicted of more than one felony. If a person has been convicted of multiple felonies, he/she is eligible to receive a Certificate of Good Conduct after a minimum probationary period. A plea or verdict of guilty upon which a sentence or the execution of a sentence has been suspended or upon which a sentence of probation, conditional discharge, or unconditional discharge has been imposed is considered a “conviction.”


In general, a certificate may relieve an eligible offender of any forfeiture or disability, or remove any bay to employment, automatically imposed by law by reason of conviction of the crime or the offense.
Some examples of lost rights which may be recovered by either certificate include to the right to apply for a professional license, the right to apply for a license to carry and possess firearms, the ability to receive a conditional driver’s license during the period of lost driving privileges after a DWI conviction, and restore civil rights, like the right to vote.


At Levene Gouldin & Thompson, we can help you apply for a certificate of rehabilitation. Our New York post-conviction attorneys have been representing client’s with criminal records for over three decades. If you or someone you know has been convicted of a state or federal crime and is looking for some remedy, contact us today.

Contact attorney Kevin Williams at Levene Gouldin & Thompson. He’s the chair of our Criminal Defense Practice Group and he can be reached at (607) 763-9200.

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