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New York Criminal Conviction Sealing Frequently Asked Questions

What is sealing?

If you are convicted of a crime, your criminal record is public. This means that details about the arrest, your mug shot, and the court papers are discoverable by anyone who does a criminal background check, including employers and potential employers. If your record is sealed, all of the information about your arrest and the related court proceedings is hidden from the public.

What is the different between sealing and expungement?

Sealing means that the conviction is hidden from the public. However, it remains accessible by some including law enforcement, the courts, the military if you enlist, and the agency that issues firearms licenses. With expungement a conviction is completely erased. As a New York sealing lawyer can explain, expungement is not available in New York.

What is the process of getting a criminal conviction sealed?

In order to get a conviction sealed, you must file an application with the criminal court where the conviction for the offense sought to be sealed occurred. The application must include a sworn statement from you giving the reasons the conviction should be sealed. The prosecutor is allowed to object to the sealing. In some instances, such as when the prosecutor objects to sealing, there may be hearing during which your New York sealing lawyer will argue your case for sealing. In other cases there will not be a hearing. The judge will make the final decision after taking into consideration a number of different factors.

Can a felony be expunged?

Certain felonies can be expunged and others cannot. Class A felonies and violent felonies cannot be sealed. Felonies are misdemeanors that require sex offender registration cannot be sealed. Similarly, felonies involving a sexual performance of a child are not sealable.

Can I get all of my convictions sealed?

The sealing rules are in place to give individuals with criminal records the opportunity to make a fresh start without putting the public at risk. It is not meant to hide the criminal records of those with extensive criminal histories who have not made an effort to rehabilitate. Thus, the sealing law allows only up to two eligible convictions sealed. Only one of the convictions can be a felony. However, if you were convicted of more than one crime during the same criminal transaction, all of those eligible crimes are considered a single crime for the purposes of sealing eligibility.

Do I have to tell my employer about a sealed conviction?

Once a conviction is sealed, your conviction will not be available to public or private who perform criminal background checks. The exceptions to this rule are if you are applying for job as a police officer or peace officer, or if you are applying to join the military. Employers are not allowed to ask about sealed convictions.

What are reasons that an application for sealing may be denied?

Under the new sealing law your application will automatically be denied if it has not been 10 years since the sentencing for the conviction that you want sealed. Your sealing application will also be denied if you have been arrested, charged or convicted of another crime, or you have not made any attempt toward rehabilitation in the 10 year period since the sentencing for the conviction that want sealed. Keep in mind that the prosecutor is allowed to object to sealing and ultimately the judge will determine whether or not to seal your conviction. This is why it is important that a sealing attorney experienced with the New York criminal system represents you in your effort to get your conviction sealed.

Contact the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates

Having a criminal record can make it difficult to find a job, find housing, and go to school. You will miss out on many opportunities. Sealing convictions is a way for you to put your past behind you and get a fresh start. However, the application process is complicated and approval is not automatic. It is important that an experienced attorney prepare your sealing application so that it will have the best chance for approval. The sealing attorneys serving clients in New York at the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates have years of experience successfully defending clients in New York criminal courts. Contact us at 800.696.9529 to schedule a free, no obligation consultation regarding your case. We serve those accused of grand larceny in the following locations: the Bronx, Brooklyn, Long Island, Manhattan, Nassau County, Queens, Staten Island, Suffolk County and Westchester County.

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