In New York State, you might be able to have your criminal record sealed, provided that certain requirements are met. After all, having a criminal record can present various types of barriers to purchasing a home, securing a new job, obtaining a loan, or renting an apartment. You might be interested in pursuing the option of sealing your criminal record. To determine if you are eligible for sealing your record, it can help speak with a knowledgeable New York state attorney.
Expungement in New York
New York State does not provide an option for people with a previous felony or misdemeanor conviction to have records expunged. New York’s Criminal Procedure Rules § 160.55 permits the destruction of arrest records as well as the sealing of prosecution paperwork associated with many criminal and traffic violations. For some felonies and misdemeanors, however, these records are permanent.
While a New York lawyer cannot help you expunge a criminal record, it might be possible to seal a criminal record, which provides similar benefits as expungement. Having a criminal record sealed means that the information is considered confidential, even though the records are not destroyed. In most cases, following the sealing of records, only you and your attorney will access them. There are, however, some situations in which sealed records might be shared with others, like when jobs specifically require background checks of sealed records.
Eligibility for Record Sealing
There are several situations in which a person is eligible for record sealing, which include the following:
- Arrest records. A person might have an arrest record sealed if their case was terminated in their favor. This includes when cases are dismissed, dropped, or vacated, and situations in which a person was acquitted at trial or a conviction was set aside.
- Drug convictions. Some drug crime records can be sealed if a person successfully completes either an approved treatment or a judicial diversion program.
- Non-criminal offenses. Record sealing is possible for many noncriminal offenses, including disorderly conduct violations and traffic infractions. Many times, these records are automatically sealed one year after a case is terminated.
- Other felonies and misdemeanors. If a person is convicted of two or fewer misdemeanors or one felony and one misdemeanor, a record can often be sealed.
To qualify for these records’ sealing, a person must wait ten years after the sentence was imposed or ten years after release if the person was incarcerated.
Another offense often requested for sealing are juvenile records. While many juvenile records seal automatically, this is not always the case. If your juvenile records do not seal, an experienced attorney can help.
A New York Lawyer can Help With Record Sealing
An experienced attorney can help you with each step of the record sealing process, which tends to involve the following:
- Completing an application and attaching any necessary supporting documents might include a Certificate of Disposition for the offense.
- Submitting the application to the applicable court. If the judge who heard the case is still at the same court, the application will be directly addressed to this judge.
- Submitting copies of the application to the District Attorney for the county where the offense happened. Sometimes, the District Attorney will object to the application, but an attorney can help in these situations.
- Provided that the judge does not deny the application, the judge might request a hearing.
- If the matter proceeds to a hearing, your lawyer will present the most compelling evidence possible to support why the record should be sealed.
- The judge will eventually issue a ruling, either denying or granting the sealing of records.
Even though it is possible to complete this process independently, a skilled lawyer knows what it takes to make sure that your application is as strong as possible. This maximizes your chance of receiving a favorable result.
In situations in which an application proceeds to a hearing, the services of an attorney are invaluable. Judges and District Attorneys are highly skilled at finding flaws in applications’ arguments, but lawyers can greatly reduce this possibility. From start to finish, a dedicated New York lawyer will remain committed to presenting the best argument possible to convince a judge and District Attorney to seal your record.
Obtain the Services of a Skilled Criminal Defense Attorney
If you are interested in expunging or sealing a record, understand that it is often a difficult process. Schedule an initial free consultation with Nave Law Firm today by calling 855-349-NAVE (6283)