Criminal Record Expungement & Sealing in New York

Is your criminal record holding you back?  Is it hard for you to find employment as a result of your criminal conviction?   The good news is that, in some cases, you may be able to get your arrest or conviction record sealed.  The State of New York does not currently allow criminal records to be expunged.  Contact our law firm to determine if you are able to have your criminal record sealed.

Criminal Record Expungement & Sealing

Generally, Criminal court records are available to the general public.  This means, anyone can go and find out if you have been arrested, charged, or convicted of a crime.  You may be able to seal or expunge your criminal record so that no one finds out about your arrest and/or conviction.

Expungement is a method for cleaning up your criminal record.  This procedure reopens your criminal case, dismisses the conviction, and re-closes the case without a conviction.  “Expunging” a criminal record means that the record is completely destroyed; it is as though the crime never happened.

If you have your criminal record “sealed,” then it will be hidden from the general public; however, certain agencies may still be able to access your record and obtain information about the arrest and/or conviction.

Once your criminal record is sealed, it is only available for viewing by your attorney, agencies that issue firearms licenses, law enforcement agencies, and parole or probation departments.

Eligibility to Seal Criminal Record

In New York, the conviction of a felony or misdemeanor is never sealed.  A youthful offender adjudication may be sealed regardless if it was for a felony or misdemeanor.  Criminal charges that received a complete dismissal may be sealed. This includes the following:

Juvenile Delinquencies

Upon turning 16, you may be able to file a motion with the court to have your juvenile criminal record sealed.  The following  convictions are unable to be sealed:

  • Driving while ability impaired;
  • Loitering in a sexually defiant manner;
  • Possession of less than 7/8 of an ounce of marijuana will only be sealed three years after the offense occurred, and if you have no further drug convictions during that three-year waiting period;or
  • If the judge orders that your violation not be sealed.

Cases that are Dismissed with no Conviction

This includes the following:

  • Case Acquittal;
  • Case Dismissal;
  • Declined Prosecution; or
  • Dismissals after an “adjournment in contemplation of dismissal” (ACD).

Violation Convictions

Most violation convictions can be sealed unless it involved the following:

  • Driving While Ability Impaired;
  • Loitering in a Sexually Deviant Manner; or
  • If the judge orders that the case not be sealed.

Violation Convictions for the Unlawful Possession of Marijuana

You will have to wait 3 years before sealing the conviction of the unlawful possession of marijuana limited to 7/8 of an ounce.

Felonies & Misdemeanors

A judge may conditionally seal your felonies and misdemeanors if the following occurs:

  • You completed a court-mandated alcohol or drug treatment program; and
  • You completed any other sentence imposed following the completion of treatment; and
  • You have no pending charges.

Employment after Criminal Conviction

if you are looking for employment in New York after receiving a criminal conviction, you may qualify for a rehabilitation program to better your odds of securing employment.   You can apply for two types of rehabilitation certifications in New York: Certificate of Relief from Disabilities or Certificate of Good Conduct.

1. Certificate of Relief from Disabilities

Certificate of Relief from Disabilities (CRD) is “issued to relieve an “eligible offender” as defined in §700 of the Correction Law, of all or of enumerated forfeitures, disabilities, or bars to employment automatically imposed be law by reason of a conviction of the crime or offense specified on the face of the certificate.”

A CRD may be issued if you have not been convicted of more than one felony.  The  removing of the mandatory legal bars restores your right to apply and be considered for employment or a license, but does not guarantee it will be granted.

2. Certificate of Good Conduct

Certificate of Good Conduct is available to individuals who have been convicted of numerous felonies and with any number of misdemeanors.  This certificate will cover every crime committed by a convicted felon.

The certificate creates a presumption of rehabilitation in regard to the offense or offenses you committed. This means that your prior conviction will not result in you being rejected for employment or refused a license, unless there is other evidence showing that you are not qualified.

If you are considering filing an application to have your criminal record sealed in New York, contact Brooklyn attorney Gilbert Parris today to get started.