New York Record-Sealing Lawyer

When a person is convicted of a crime in New York, they often assume that this will remain on their permanent criminal record. To a certain extent, this is true. There is no procedure for a total erasure, or expungement, or a person’s criminal record in New York. There are, however, certain circumstances under which a criminal record might be sealed.

There is also a new court rule that will go into effect in October of 2017 that will broaden the scope for when a record might be sealed. When a record is sealed, it is only visible to certain government agencies, when applying for a job with very particular requirements, and if a person is charged with a crime in the future.

An experienced New York record-sealing lawyer can guide clients through the current record sealing process as well as prepare them for the upcoming changes to the law. To best understand such procedures, be sure to contact a criminal defense lawyer in New York City as soon as possible.

The Current Record-Sealing Procedure

In some situations, a person’s criminal record will be sealed after one year without needing to take any action. Examples of this include:

  • Cases where the verdict was not guilty
  • Cases where the crime was committed by a child
  • Most traffic violations with the exception of Driving While Ability Impaired

For the vast majority of all misdemeanor and felony convictions, there is currently no procedure in place to have those records sealed. The only exception to this is if the crime is classified as being committed because of drug abuse.

In order to get this record sealed, a person needs to comply with all diversionary programs, have no other pending criminal charges, and complete all non-diversionary portions of the sentence.

If all three of these conditions are met, a motion can be made with the court to seal the record. To take action, a person should not proceed without a New York record sealing attorney.

An experienced record sealing lawyer in New York can help clients who meet the criteria to file this motion and argue for its acceptance before the judge.

Coming Changes

With the passage of a new portion of New York Criminal Procedure Law 160.59, the range of convictions that can be sealed will greatly expand. However, there will still be strict categories of people to whom this new law will apply. In order to take advantage of this new procedure the convictions must be:

  • More than 10 years old. This date begins upon the date of conviction if no jail time was imposed, or upon release from jail
  • The charges must not be a sex offense, a violent felony, or a class A felony
  • The sealing can be requested for a maximum of two convictions, only one of which may be a felony

If a person’s convictions meet the above criteria, a petition is to be made to the court where the more serious of the two convictions was entered. The petition must contain a sworn statement of reasons for why the sealing be granted.

The district attorney has 45 days to object to the record being sealed. If no objection is made, the court may decide to seal the record without a hearing.

When such a petition is granted, all official records of the convictions will be sealed and not made available to any private person or public agency with the exceptions of courts, corrections agencies, firearm licensing authorities, and law enforcement.

Purpose of Sealing a Criminal Record

While the court system and law enforcement will still know that a person was convicted of a crime, all private organizations will not. This means that a criminal background check for a job application will come back without those convictions being visible.

Other benefits include restoring an individual’s right to vote, and clearing the path for student loan applications and certain housing assistance. To begin this process, a person must not hesitate before contacting a New York record-sealing lawyer.

Contact an Attorney

An experienced New York record-sealing attorney can help people eligible under the current law to complete the necessary paperwork and make their arguments in court.

Starting in October of 2017, a lawyer can help their clients to submit petitions under the new court rules in a straightforward and clear manner and work to contest any objections made by a District Attorney’s office.

Call the New York State criminal conviction sealing lawyers and former New York City prosecutors at (212) 312-7129 or contact us online today.

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