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New York Expungement Attorney – Sealing Criminal Records

Being convicted of a crime starts a vicious cycle. Whether sentenced to probation or after completing a term of incarceration, finding a good job with a criminal record can be next to impossible. Steady employment in a good job is key to staying out of trouble, but those with criminal records are more likely to re-offend simply because their record keeps them from getting a good job. A criminal record can also keep you from getting loans and credit, decent housing, or vocational licenses.

It seems like one mistake can haunt you forever, but there is hope. Records of misdemeanors and even felony convictions can be kept from disclosure on employment applications as well as housing and credit applications, in certain instances. Convictions for crimes such as DWI, even felony DWI, drug possession or shoplifting do not have to keep you from moving on in your life, if you know the right procedure to deal with them.

Get more help from a New York expungement attorney at our firm for help with the process of sealing a criminal record.

In New York, criminal records can’t be expunged, but they can be sealed

It is true that criminal records cannot be expunged in New York, but they can be sealed. Expunging a record generally means destroying it, erasing it or wiping it clean. Sealing a record can be nearly as good, however, as sealed records are not open to the public, and sealed convictions can be treated as though they don’t exist when applying for a job or completing any application that asks about criminal history.

New York Criminal Procedure Law 160.59 (CPL 160.59) allows for sealing of convictions that are ten years old from the date of sentencing or completion of a prison term. This law allows you to seal up to two misdemeanors or one felony and one misdemeanor. The following conditions apply:

  • No sex offense or violent felony conviction
  • No out-of-state or federal convictions
  • Records remain open to law enforcement agencies and employers if the job requires carrying a firearm
  • The decision whether to seal records is within the judge’s discretion
  • The District Attorney is notified of any sealing application and may object to sealing at a hearing where both sides can argue the matter

This law went into effect in October 2017 and potentially affects hundreds of thousands of people in New York, yet in the first eight months of the law’s operation, only 346 records got sealed. One explanation for this low number is that the law is not widely publicized and many people do not know this record sealing is available or how to go about it. Another reason for the low number of records sealed is that there is no government agency promoting the law or doing anything to help people get their records sealed. Many people who try to get their records sealed on their own don’t complete or file their applications properly, or they are met with opposition from the DA in court. Having a knowledgeable and experienced New York criminal defense attorney advise you and represent you gives you the best chance for success on your record sealing application.

There’s more than one way to seal a criminal record in New York

CPL 160.59 is only the latest New York law to address the sealing of criminal records. Other laws apply to sealing criminal records in New York as well. These laws include:

  • CPL 160.50complete sealing following Adjournment in Contemplation of Dismissal, dismissal in the interests of justice, or other favorable disposition where there was no actual conviction
  • CPL 160.55partial sealing of most violations or non-criminal offenses; automatically destroys fingerprint records and permanently seals law enforcement records, but leaves court records open
  • CPL 160.58conditional sealing of a class B drug felony and up to three prior misdemeanor drug convictions after completion of a drug diversion program; remains sealed so long as you don’t get arrested again
  • Juveniles can have their records sealed for certain juvenile delinquency and criminal matters, depending upon the nature of the offense and how the juvenile was tried

Get Help with Your Criminal Record and Move on with Your Life

To find out if you are eligible to have your criminal record sealed in New York or expungement, call an experienced and knowledgeable attorney Dupée & Monroe in Goshen at 845-294-8900.

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