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New York Criminal Conviction Sealing Frequently Asked Questions

What is sealing?

When a person is convicted of a crime, their criminal record is available to the public. This means that the public can access the court papers, your mug shot, and details regarding the arrest. Anybody doing a criminal background check will find the information, including potential employers and current employers. A sealed record is a record which has hidden the information about the court proceedings and your overall arrest from the public.

Are sealing and expungement the same thing?

When a record is sealed, this means that the criminal conviction has been hidden from the public. It won’t be found on public databases, and it won’t come up during a criminal background check. That said, it’s possible for people to access information about the criminal conviction if they are part of the military if you enlist, the courts, law enforcement, or agencies that issue licenses for firearms.

Expungement completely erases a conviction from your record. New York state does not offer expungement of criminal records as an option.

How do you get a conviction sealed?

The first step for the sealing of a conviction is to file an application at the criminal court where you were convicted in the first place. The application needs to include a sworn statement that you have written which includes the reasoning behind why you need the conviction to be sealed.

The prosecution has the right to object to a sealing. In certain circumstances, like those in which the prosecution objects, there might be a hearing in which your sealing lawyer will need to argue the case for sealing to the judge. In other circumstances, there won’t be a hearing. The judge will review your application, take into consideration a number of relevant factors, and make an executive decision.

Are felonies eligible for sealing?

This depends on the type of felony that was committed. Certain types of felonies can be sealed from public record, but others cannot. Violent felonies and class A felonies are not eligible for sealing. Misdemeanor felonies that require the perpetrator to register as a sex offender are also not eligible for sealing. Felonies that involve a child’s sexual performance aren’t eligible either.

Can all convictions be sealed?

Rules about sealing have been put in place so that individuals who have criminal records might be able to start over without putting the safety of the public at risk. Sealing is not intended to hide criminal records of people who have a long criminal history and have made no efforts toward rehabilitation. For this reason, the sealing law only allows a maximum of two eligible convictions to be sealed. They cannot both be felonies. If you were convicted of multiple charges during one criminal transaction, the sealing law considers all of the eligible crimes to be one single crime regarding sealing limits.

Must employers be informed about sealed convictions?

After you’ve had your conviction sealed, that conviction will not come up when people perform a criminal background check. There are exceptions to the rule: if you apply for the military or apply to be a peace officer or police officer. Other than that, employers don’t have the right to ask about your sealed convictions.

Why might a sealing application be denied?

Your application will receive an automatic denial if it’s been less than a decade since the sentencing for your conviction. It will also be denied if you haven’t made any rehabilitation attempts within the past decade, or if you have been convicted of another crime within the past decade.

by Leonard on Spodek Law Group
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