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March 12, 2018 |

Recent Change in New York Law Allows Some Older Convictions to Be Sealed From Public

A criminal conviction can haunt you long after you’ve served any time or paid any fines. Upon pleading or being found guilty of a criminal offense, you will be given the unwanted gift of a criminal record. That record is public and can be seen by most anyone – including potential employers – years or decades later. Your criminal record can make it difficult or impossible to get certain types of jobs and otherwise limit many opportunities. Now, however, many New York convictions can be sealed from public view, allowing those who committed a crime many years ago to move forward with their lives without the burden of their conviction. Contact a criminal lawyer in Brooklyn today to discuss your legal rights and options

As of October 2017, New York CPL 160.59 allows people who have been convicted in no more than two cases (only one of which can be a felony) to ask a court to seal certain New York convictions so long as 10 years have passed since the date of conviction, or from the date of release from custody (whichever is later in time). 

What Does “Sealing” a Conviction Mean?

If a court approves an application to have a criminal conviction sealed, perhaps the biggest impact is that most employers (other than police departments) will not see any record of that conviction when conducting a criminal background check.

Only the following people or agencies will be able to see your sealed record:

  • You or your representative
  • Law enforcement agencies, including district attorneys’ offices, probation departments, and child protective services
  • Agencies reviewing applications or conducting background checks related to a gun license or attempts to purchase or possess a gun.

What Kind of Convictions Can Be Sealed? A Criminal Lawyer in Brooklyn Explains

Not all convictions are eligible to be sealed. Convictions for the following crimes cannot be sealed:

  • Sex offense defined in Penal Law Article 130
  • Offense requiring registration as a sex offender
  • Sexual performance by a child defined in Penal Law Article 263
  • Class A felony
  • Violent felony defined in Penal Law § 70.02
  • Felony conspiracy to commit an ineligible offense
  • Felony attempt to commit an ineligible offense

Who is Eligible to Apply?

Individuals seeking to seal their conviction must meet all the following eligibility requirements:

  • You have not committed a crime for at least 10 years since your conviction and/or release
  • You do not currently have a criminal case pending
  • You only have two convictions or less on your criminal record, only one of which can be a felony.

Just because you are eligible to have a conviction sealed does not mean it will be. The application process can be tricky, labor intensive, and time-consuming. Given the benefits of having a prior conviction placed under seal, you should consult with an experienced New York criminal defense attorney who can assist you with your application.

At Epstein & Conroy, P.C., we've built our careers by working tirelessly to win favorable results for our clients, whether through plea negotiations or at trial. We apply our experience and dedication to every case we handle. Over the past three decades, our criminal defense lawyers have earned reputations as aggressive litigators who are not afraid to defend even the most difficult cases before a jury.

Please call (718) 852-6763 to speak with an experienced criminal lawyer in Brooklyn today.

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