New York Conviction and Record Sealing

Can I Have My Criminal Record Sealed in New York?

Your last conviction was over ten years ago. You have been a law abiding citizen since your arrest for Petit Larceny, Grand Larceny, Criminal Mischief, Assault, Criminal Possession of Stolen Property, Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance, Forgery or whatever you pleaded to in a New York court. Every employment check reveals your criminal record and you find yourself passed over no matter how you have made amends for your past failings. Can your criminal record now be sealed or expunged in New York? Can you clean up your record by sealing your past convictions? Is there a process or means to prevent employers from finding an old criminal case? Does New York allow misdemeanors to be sealed or expunged? What about felonies? All of these question can be summed up fairly easily. Are you eligible for the sealing of your criminal record and what is the process to do so? Fortunately, the New York criminal lawyers, sealing attorneys and former prosecutors at Crotty Saland PC are happy to announce, starting October 2017, New York Criminal Procedure Law 160.59 will allow anyone who has suffered the consequences both directly from and as a collateral result of a criminal conviction in New York to apply for the sealing of their eligible criminal conviction or convictions.

Sealing vs. Expungement

Before addressing who is eligible, what crimes a court can seal, what the implications are of sealing and the process to get you to the point where certain criminal offenses are cleaned from your public record, you need to understand the difference between sealing in New York as opposed to expungement. Further, while the content contained on this and other New York Sealing Law pages as well as the blog entries at the NewYorkCriminalLawyerBlog.Com are extremely useful to anyone with a criminal record pursuing a better future and seeking to remove the stigma of their past, by no means is this a substitute for a consultation with your New York criminal sealing lawyer.

The major difference between the sealing of you criminal record and criminal convictions and expunging the same is that the former generally prevents the public and employers from viewing past convictions. The latter vacates and removes the convictions from your record. Whether it is a good policy or not is for the legislature to decide, but New York currently does not expunge criminal convictions. As of October 2017, however, assuming your conviction is an eligible one, New York Criminal Procedure Law 160.59 can not only limit or prevent the exposure of certain crimes, but further forbids an employer in New York from taking an adverse inference because of the past arrest and criminal history. Equally significant, New York Executive Law 296(16) forbids an employer barring certain exceptions from requiring that you divulge your criminal past from arrest to conviction. Simply, the benefits of sealing are unlike anything New York has offered in the past and provides some of the greatest advantages to give people back the lives they justly deserve.

Eligibility for Sealing of Criminal Convictions

There are many factors involved in determining whether or not your criminal past can be cleaned up and sealed. Generally, the crimes can only be of a certain nature. For example, sex crimes and other offenses are not eligible for sealing. Sex offenders need not apply. Moreover, no more than two offenses and convictions can be sealed. Of these, only one can be a felony and any crime for which you seek sealing must be at least ten years old. If the court sentenced you to prison or jail, this calculation commences from the time you were released. Only some of the factors for eligibility, there are numerous provisions and requirements set forth in New York Crim. Pro. Law 160.59 that you and your sealing attorney can further review to determine whether you can take advantage of this statute.

Process for Pursuing Criminal Conviction Sealing

First, before filing a motion with the court and serving the District Attorney where you were convicted of a particular crime or crimes, the sealing offense must be an eligible crime. Assuming that it is an eligible offense, your attorney must secure numerous statutorily required materials and draft the requisite motion. Not an easy task, you will need to provide or have your sealing attorney secure a certificate of disposition, a sworn statement as to the conviction or convictions you want to have “removed” and a compelling argument clearly outlining why your sentencing judge should now seal your case more than a decade later. As crass as it sounds, who are you and why should a judge now give you this one-time opportunity and the benefit of the doubt? Even if the judge views your submissions favorably, should the District Attorney challenge your application the court must have a hearing to allow prosecutors and victims of your crime to be heard on their respective positions.

What Must the Court Consider When Deciding to Seal Your Conviction

The court that sentenced you, or another judge in the jurisdiction, has wide discretion in determining whether or not he or she will grant you the relief of a sealed criminal record. Do not be naïve. This is a one shot opportunity and one that you and your criminal defense or sealing attorney must be meticulous in both preparation and presentation. By no means are judges going to seal cases as a matter of course without doing their own due diligence. While New York Criminal Procedure Law 160.59 has statutory guidelines as to what the court must consider, the law does not prevent judges from going beyond the four corners of the law and examining any other factors they deem relevant. However, because there is some guidance in the law, before submitting a motion both you and your counsel should be prepared to address, among other elements, the circumstances of the conviction, what, if any, rehabilitation, schooling or community service you have involved yourself in, the impact of sealing on the public’s well-being and security, and how, if at all, sealing furthers your re-introduction into society as a valuable member.

The Effect of Record Sealing on Your Rap Sheet and Career

As noted, NY CRPL 160.59 is not an expungement statute. A plea is neither vacated nor removed from your record. However, sealing, for lack of a better way to describe it, is the next best thing. The District Attorney, NYPD, FBI and local police agencies will have a record of your arrest. Your fingerprints and mugshot will still be on file. However, the record will be otherwise sealed to private and most public agencies subject to some limited exceptions. Yes, you have still been convicted of a crime, but when your future employer runs your background check your criminal past of up to two convictions, should not be present and available. Equally important, because of changes in the law, even if an employer – public or private – were to learn of your criminal past whether based on your admission or otherwise, they are not permitted to take an adverse action based on this now sealed arrest, plea or post trial conviction. Again, the benefits of this sealing statute are enormous in scope and application. What may have been a career or job that was out of your reach can now potentially be achieved. You have paid for your wrongdoing and New York State recognizes that your life should move forward for your betterment and that of your family.

Seal Your Criminal Convictions: Begin Your Future Today

Everyone makes mistakes. We all have flaws. However, when a criminal convictions is ten, fifteen or twenty plus years in the past and you have otherwise been a law abiding, hardworking and responsible members of your family and community, a second chance at life is well deserved. The sealing of your criminal record can be the tool and vehicle to literally put your criminal wrongdoing in your past and clean up your rap sheet so the stigma of your conviction is sealed. Employers should not be able to hold over your head, or for that matter have access to, decades old criminal convictions irrelevant to the man or woman that you have become. No longer should these same companies, agencies and employers systematically get a free pass to take an adverse view of the person you are and be the arbiter of your future.

Consult with and retain a New York criminal conviction sealing attorney. Read about and educate yourself on CPL 160.59. Seize this opportunity and take the time to put forth a cogent, effective and thorough motion pursuant to Criminal Procedure Law 160.59. Put yourself in the best position to secure the sealing you deserve. Do not miss this chance or waste this opportunity. Do it now. Change your trajectory. Begin your future today. Let the New York criminal lawyers and former Manhattan prosecutors at Crotty Saland PC navigate you through the sealing process in any New York State jurisdiction or court.

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

New York Criminal Lawyer Blog - Sealing and Expungement
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