Requirements of Reentry and Reintegration to Seal a Record in New York
The burden of a criminal record caused by mistakes made long ago can undermine an individual's best efforts to lead a useful, productive life, sometimes permanently. In recognition of this fact, legislators in New York have initiated changes in the law which can facilitate the sealing of certain types of criminal records and help rehabilitated offenders gain a fresh start.
If your prior history has hindered your ability to fulfill your potential in life, a seasoned attorney can guide you through the requirements of reentry and reintegration to seal a record in New York and pursue the outcome you seek.Candidates for Record Sealing
Those with aging criminal convictions in New York will be afforded the ability to seek sealing of the records of no more than two convictions of certain types, though only one may be classified as a felony. Ineligible for sealing are records pertaining to convictions that stem from sex offenses, Class A felonies and other violent felonies.
Record sealing is not open to those who have been convicted of more than two distinct crimes or more than one felony offense. It is important to note that those requesting sealing must wait at least 10 years from the time their sentence was imposed or from the date they were released from the most recent term of incarceration.
Those mandated to be on the sex offender registry and those who have already exceeded the limit on record sealing will be deemed ineligible for further assistance as well. Those with criminal charges presently pending or those who have been found guilty subsequent to the last conviction they wish to have sealed will also have their request denied.Local Sealing Requirements
Ultimately, judges are given significant discretion in terms of whether an individual's criminal record may be sealed in New York. Key statutory factors used to facilitate such a determination include:
- How much time has passed since the applicant's last conviction
- The facts surrounding the offense at issue and its seriousness
- The seriousness and circumstances surrounding other offenses for which the applicant was ever convicted
- The applicant's character, steps taken to achieve rehabilitation (evidence of schooling, treatment programs, community service and the like)
- Statements offered by the victim(s) of the crimes at issue
- Potential impact of record sealing on the applicant's ability to achieve reintegration and re-entry into productive society
- The impact of record sealing on public perception of the rule of law
If successful, a petitioner for the sealing of a criminal record will be able to move forward in life knowing that all official records concerning arrests, prosecutions, and convictions related to the relevant offense(s) will be made unavailable to the general public or to private agencies conducting civil background checks and the like.
Private employers and professional licensing agencies are forbidden from asking about the sealed convictions and may not take negative actions as a result of them.
While certain law enforcement agencies and permit-granting authorities will retain the ability to access such records, the societal objective of aiding in reentry and reintegration of prior offenders will be aided greatly.
In the end, successful attainment of record sealing offers New Yorkers convicted of offenses in the past the opportunity to demonstrate that they have paid their debts to society and are fully prepared to contribute to the community as taxpaying, law-abiding citizens.Taking the Initiative on Behalf of Rehabilitated Offenders
If you or a loved one have admittedly made mistakes in the past but wish for a fresh start in the eyes of the world, a path to redemption does indeed exist.
To learn more about your potential eligibility to receive a clean slate, an attorney knowledgeable in the requirements of reentry and reintegration to seal a record in New York is ready to help.