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Relief from Civil Disability

A civil disability occurs when a person is convicted of a felony and loses certain civil rights, like the right to bear arms, and cannot obtain licenses for certain activities like driving, hunting, or carrying a firearm. A person who is prohibited from possessing a firearm, for example, must apply for relief from civil disability to have the order suspended which prohibits owning or possessing a firearm.


There are two avenues a person must take when attempting to get relief if they were convicted in a U.S. District Court. They must be cleared by both the U.S. Department of Justice as a Presidential Pardon on the federal level and by the State of New York which issues the license.

A person convicted in the Northern District of New York should call the US Probation Department for the Northern District of New York in Albany at (518) 257-1700.

However, if the conviction resulted in the denial of federal benefits for certain drug convictions under 21 U.S.C. ยง 862, as indicated on the Judgment and Conviction Order, an application for suspension of the order denying federal benefits must be made directly to the sentencing court. For other federal convictions, application is made to the court in the district where the applicant currently resides.

Application to the U.S. District Court consists of a written application or petition with a copy of the Judgment and Conviction Order indicating denial of federal benefits. This application should be accompanied by a miscellaneous filing fee in accordance with the current fee schedule.


Application for Pardon: United States Department of Justice, Office of the Pardon Attorney

Certificate of Relief from Civil Disability / Good Conduct and Restoration of Rights: New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision

Application for Clemency: New York State

Reinstatement of right to vote: New York State Residents