How Long Does a Felony Stay on Your Record?
A felony conviction can significantly upend your life. In addition to heavy fines and prison time, you could face consequences to your immigration status, your credit score, your ability to obtain housing or go to school, your eligibility for jobs, and social stigma as well. A felony conviction, thankfully, need not stay on your record forever. Read on to learn about how long a felony conviction will affect your record in New York, and call a knowledgeable and compassionate New York criminal defense lawyer for help with a misdemeanor or felony arrest or conviction in New York City or the Hudson Valley.
You Can Seal Felony Records
It is important to note at the outset that a felony conviction will stay on your record forever unless you act. Other than for certain crimes committed by youthful offenders, your felony conviction will not automatically disappear. To get rid of a felony conviction record, you must file to have your records sealed.
Unlike other states, New York does not allow defendants to have felony convictions expunged, which would remove the conviction entirely. Instead, New York allows defendants to petition to have records of convictions “sealed.” Sealing is very similar to expungement, in that all material relating to the condition is destroyed. Employers, landlords, and other members of the public will never be able to see that the defendant was ever arrested or convicted for that felony.
A file concerning the conviction will still exist, however, and will be viewable by certain parties under certain circumstances. Generally, sealed records are only visible to:
- People whom you designate
- Employers, if your job requires carrying a firearm
- Your parole officer, if you are arrested while on probation or parole;
- In rare circumstances and where ordered by a court, law enforcement or prosecutors (typically only where a defendant is arrested for a crime related to the sealed offense)
Felony Records Can be Sealed After Ten Years
Under current New York law, most felonies can be sealed after ten years have elapsed since the sentencing or release from prison (whichever is later). The party seeking to seal the conviction must satisfy certain other conditions:
- No current pending criminal charges
- No recent criminal convictions
- Two convictions or less on their record (no more than two misdemeanors or one felony and one misdemeanor)
- Not have already reached the maximum number of sealed convictions under the law
Not All Felonies Can be Sealed
New York allows convicted felons to seal records of some, but not all, convictions. There are a variety of convictions that can never be sealed; these are generally offenses that involve danger to the public. Some of the felonies ineligible for sealing include:
- Most sex offenses
- Most offenses defined as “violent crimes,” even if the commission of the crime involved no actual violence
- Serious or “Class A” felonies
- Certain other dangerous felonies
For help determining whether your felony conviction is eligible to be sealed and help getting your conviction sealed, speak with an experienced New York criminal defense attorney.
Call for Seasoned Advice and Representation After a Hudson Valley Arrest
If you have been arrested or charged with a misdemeanor or felony in New York, call Dupée & Monroe, P.C., to get help from a dedicated criminal defense lawyer. From our offices in Goshen, we represent clients charged with all manner of criminal offenses in Orange County and throughout the Hudson Valley.