How Can You Get Your Criminal Records Sealed in New York?
A criminal conviction can follow you long after you’ve completed your sentence. The conviction appears on your criminal record, which can hinder your ability to get a job, pursue education or find a place to live. Fortunately, in recent years, New York has expanded the availability of record sealing, allowing more people to keep their escape some of the disadvantages caused by criminal records.
When a record is sealed, it is hidden from public view, meaning it isn’t accessible to landlords, potential employers and others. If your record is sealed, you are allowed to say you were not arrested or convicted of a crime, which may be crucial for housing, credit and job applications. The record does, however, remain visible to courts, parole officers and some government bodies.
To be eligible to have your record sealed, you must meet the following minimum criteria:
- At least 10 years must have passed since your sentencing or release from prison.
- You are not currently facing criminal charges or investigations.
- You have no recent convictions.
- You have two or fewer convictions on your record (including misdemeanor convictions).
New York law allows only two convictions to be sealed and only one of those can be a felony. If, however, you committed a single act that resulted in convictions on multiple counts, then that entire act can be treated as one conviction for sealing purposes.
Certain convictions cannot be sealed. Those that are ineligible generally relate to crimes that indicate a person may be a threat to the public. These are some examples:
- Nearly all sex offenses, including those requiring sex offender registration
- Offenses defined as violent crimes
- Class A felonies
- Some lower-level felonies
Getting your record sealed is a complex process with potential pitfalls. You must first obtain and complete an application form explaining why your conviction should be sealed and provide documents supporting your request. The application and supporting materials must be filed with the same judge who sentenced you. If that judge is no longer working, it can go to any other judge in the same court. The application must also be served on the district attorney (DA) in the county where you were convicted. The DA has 45 days to object to your application. If the DA objects, the judge will hold a hearing. If there is no such objection, then a hearing is optional. The judge will consider the seriousness of the crime, your behavior since conviction and any other factors deemed relevant. If the judge grants your application, your record will be sealed and not viewable to the public.
At The Law Office of Maurice Verrillo, P.C. our experienced criminal defense attorney is available to discuss your eligibility for record sealing and to handle the application process. Please call our Rochester office at 585-563-1134 or contact us online for a free consultation.