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Dupée & Monroe, P.C., Attorneys at Law
Complimentary Consultations Available 845-294-8900

The Opportunity for a Fresh Start: Coming Soon to a Courthouse Near You

clean slate act, fresh start ahead sign

Getting arrested is bad, being convicted is worse, and having to live with a criminal record years after you’ve served your sentence in jail or on parole is in many ways the harshest sting of all. Last year, New York’s progressive legislature took a landmark step toward reducing the stigma of a criminal conviction. The New York State Clean Slate Act is set to take effect on November 16th of this year and will automatically seal criminal records. But it doesn’t apply to every person or every crime. Learn about the law below so you’ll know what you can expect. If you need help navigating this new law or help getting nonviolent crimes or drug offenses sealed under existing statutes, contact Dupée & Monroe, P.C., to speak with an experienced and successful Goshen criminal defense lawyer.

What Is the Clean Slate Law?

The Clean Slate Law, officially known as New York’s Clean Slate Act, is a transformative piece of legislation aimed at sealing the criminal records of individuals who have fulfilled their sentences. The law automatically seals certain misdemeanor and felony convictions, allowing individuals to move forward without the perpetual shadow of their past offenses.

How Does the New Law Work?

One of the most impactful aspects of the Clean Slate Law is its automatic sealing provision. After a specified period, eligible criminal records are automatically sealed without the need for individuals to file a petition. This automatic process ensures that those who have served their time can reintegrate into society more seamlessly.

To qualify for automatic sealing under the Clean Slate Law, individuals must meet specific criteria:

  1. Completion of Sentence: The individual must have completed their sentence, including any probation or parole.
  2. Waiting Period: There is a waiting period of three years for misdemeanors and eight years for felonies from the date of sentencing or release from incarceration, whichever is later.
  3. No Subsequent Convictions: The individual must not have any new convictions during the waiting period.
  4. Exclusions: Certain serious offenses, such as sex crimes under NY Penal Code 140, sexually violent offenses as defined in Corrections Law 168-a(3), and most Class A felonies, are excluded from automatic sealing. (Drug-related convictions will be sealed regardless of whether they are Class A felonies or not.)

Benefits of Sealed Records

Sealed records under the Clean Slate Law provide numerous benefits, significantly enhancing an individual’s quality of life:

  • Employment Opportunities: Employers are generally prohibited from accessing sealed records, allowing individuals to pursue job opportunities without the stigma of a criminal record.
  • Housing Applications: Sealed records cannot be used to deny housing applications, enabling individuals to secure stable housing.
  • Educational Prospects: Individuals can apply for educational programs and financial aid without the burden of a disclosed criminal history.
  • Privacy Restoration: Sealing restores a level of privacy, allowing individuals to move forward without the constant reminder of past mistakes.

Sealed records can still be accessed by law enforcement and the courts for certain purposes, including applying for a gun license, employment as a police officer or certain other jobs where applicants are required by law to undergo a fingerprint-based background check, and certain jobs working with children or elderly or vulnerable adults.

How Dupée & Monroe, P.C. Can Assist With Records Sealing

At Dupée & Monroe, P.C., our experienced criminal defense attorneys are dedicated to helping clients understand their rights and navigate the complexities of the Clean Slate Law. We offer comprehensive legal support to ensure that eligible individuals can take full advantage of the law’s provisions.

Our attorneys provide detailed consultations to assess eligibility for record sealing under the Clean Slate Law. We review each client’s criminal history and determine the best course of action based on individual circumstances.

While the Clean Slate Law provides for automatic sealing, some individuals may still require legal assistance for records not covered by the automatic provisions. Our team can help file petitions for sealing and represent clients in court to achieve the best possible outcomes under sealing statutes such as Criminal Procedure Law 160.50, 160.55, 160.58 and 160.59.

Beyond legal representation, we advocate for our clients’ rights and provide ongoing support throughout the process. We understand the challenges that come with a criminal record and are committed to helping our clients rebuild their lives.

Contact Dupée & Monroe, P.C., for Help Getting Your Fresh Start With a Clean Slate

New York’s Clean Slate Law represents a significant step toward criminal justice reform, offering a pathway to redemption and reintegration for many individuals. At Dupée & Monroe, P.C., we are proud to support this initiative and are here to help those in Orange County and the Hudson Valley take advantage of this opportunity for a fresh start.

If you or someone you know could benefit from the Clean Slate Law or other New York record-sealing statutes, call Dupée & Monroe, P.C. in Goshen at 845-294-8900. Let us help you pave the way to a brighter future, free from the constraints of a past conviction.

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