Can Individuals with a Criminal Record Become a Security Guard in New York?

Can Individuals with a Criminal Record Become a Security Guard in New York?

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Many individuals with a criminal record wonder if they can qualify to become a New York security guard. The short answer is yes; it is possible to become a security guard in NYS with a criminal record. Although a criminal record makes the security guard application process more complicated, it is not impossible. So, if you’re considering a career as a security guard in New York but have a criminal record, here’s what you need to know.

Certificate of Relief Act of New York State

The Certificate of Relief Act supports convicted felons after they are released from prison. It provides them with employment, housing, and education assistance. New York offers two Certificates of Relief that can help. The first is the Certificate of Relief from Disabilities, and the second is the Certificate of Good Conduct.

Certificate of Relief from Disabilities

The Certificate of Relief from Disabilities removes any mandatory legal bar, disability, or ineligibility imposed on an individual due to their crimes/felony. The Certificate of Relief is for individuals who committed misdemeanors or are first-time felony offenders. Therefore, individuals with more than one felony cannot apply for this certificate. Keep in mind that two or more felony convictions from the same indictment also count as a single felony. The Certificate of Relief is awarded when no prison term is involved. If one has served time in prison, they can go through the New York State Board of Parole after being released to attempt to receive this certificate.

Certificate of Good Conduct

The Certificate of Good conduct awards its recipients “the forfeiture or disability,” and “removes any barrier to employment”. The Certificate of Good Conduct is for those with more than one offense on their record. The state Board of Parole awards this certificate after a court sentencing where no prison term is involved. In order to receive this certificate, there is usually a one to five-year waiting period for good conduct. The amount of years the waiting period takes depends on how severe the committed offense is. Additionally, the parole board can take up to six months to make their decision regarding this certificate.

Sealing your Records

Essentially, when an individual has their records sealed, their criminal record is legally erased. Individuals can then honestly state that they have never been charged or convicted of a crime to employers. For an individual to qualify to have their records sealed, they must not be convicted of a second crime for ten years since the day of their sentencing or release from jail/prison.

What Convictions Qualify to be Sealed?

All misdemeanor convictions are eligible to be sealed, and some felonies can also be sealed. It is important to understand an individual can only seal one felony, and some felonies are not ever eligible to be sealed. Felonies that are NOT eligible for sealing include all sex offenses, violent felonies, and other serious felonies.

Apply to Become an NYS-licensed Security Guard

At International Security Services, Inc., we will work with you to get all your questions answered. We can provide the reliable security guard training needed to help you become a licensed security guard in New York. If you believe you are an eligible candidate to become a security guard in New York, click here to complete your pre-qualification screening. Contact us today to learn more about our security guard training programs.


George Kozhar

George Kozhar

George Kozhar is a respected security professional, licensed private investigator, and founder of International Security Services (ISS) - New York City’s dedicated security experts since 1999. Mr. Kozhar and his team provide a full array of private and business investigative services in the U.S. and overseas, VIP executive protection, armed and unarmed security guard services and training, and Fire and Life Safety Director training through the company’s Fire Science Institute.

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