Effective October 13, 2017, New York State now allows certain individuals to apply to have their prior criminal convictions sealed, preventing the prior mistakes from being discovered in most background checks. With the enactment of New York Criminal Procedure Law (CPL) §160.59, many people with a limited criminal histories can apply to the court in which they were convicted to have the record of those convictions sealed. While sealing does not completely remove a criminal conviction like expungement does, sealing can have an invaluable benefit to those seeking new employment and civil opportunities whom have had the misfortune of having an old criminal conviction.
Sealing Law in New York
The first step in seeking this relief is determining who is eligible to apply for sealing under the new law. Offenses eligible to apply for sealing mean any crime as defined by the laws of New York with the following exceptions:
- All sex offenses as defined by article 130 of the Penal Law.
- Convictions involving the manufacture, distribution or possession of child pornography.
- All convictions for either Murder or Manslaughter.
- All Class A felonies (Murder, Kidnapping 1st Degree, Arson 1st Degree and certain high level drug offenses).
- All violent felonies as defined by section 70.02 of the Penal Law.
- All Conspiracy convictions if the underlying crime is an ineligible offense.
- Felony Attempted crimes if the underlying crime is an ineligible offense.
- Any offense that requires the defendant to register under the Sex Offender Registration Act (SORA)
Any person who stands convicted of any of the above listed offenses is not eligible to have their conviction sealed.
Aside from being convicted of an ineligible offense, there are other certain disqualifiers that prevent a person with an otherwise eligible conviction from applying for a sealing order, including:
- Registered sex offenders.
- Having already received the maximum number of sealing orders available under this law or under section 160.58 of the CPL.
- The passing of less than ten years since the imposition of sentence or the completion of a sentence of incarceration for the offense that sealing is sought.
- Having any undisposed of arrests or having any criminal charges currently pending.
- Having been convicted of any other crimes since sentence was imposed upon the conviction for which sealing is sought.
- Having two or more felony convictions in your lifetime.
- Having 3 or more criminal convictions of any kind (misdemeanor or felony) in your lifetime.
Team Green Lawyers
If you or someone close to you has a prior criminal conviction and would like to explore the possibility of having their record sealed under this new law, please contact us at Green & Brenneck for a free consultation. Our team of former prosecutors knows the law and how to navigate it. At Green & Brenneck we are working to give you back your life.