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New York Expungement

One of the consequences of being convicted of a crime is that you will have a permanent criminal record. A criminal record includes all of the arrest and court records related to your criminal case. A criminal record is public and can be accessed by anyone including employers, neighbors, landlords, and educational institutions. This means that if you have been convicted of a crime, you may be denied employment, admission into school, state licensing for certain professions, housing, and admission into the military. However, under a recently passed new law that goes into effect in October 2017 called “Sealing of criminal records”, defendants can apply to have criminal records sealed. A sealed record would no longer be accessible by the public. However, the sealing process is complicated. To learn more about getting your criminal records sealed, contact an experienced expungement attorney in New York who will explain the process for getting your records sealed.

Effect of sealing

While the terms “sealing” and “expungement” are sometimes used interchangeably, they are not the same. Expungement means that the criminal record is erased, while sealing means that the criminal record is hidden from the public. While expungement of criminal records is available in some states, it is not available in New York. In other words, even though a criminal record in New York may be sealed or hidden, a record is permanent and cannot be erased.

The effect of sealing is that with few exceptions no one but the courts and law enforcement will have access to a sealed criminal record. When an employer or a landlord performs a criminal background check, for example, your sealed record will not appear. In fact, new provisions prohibit employers from asking about sealed convictions.

Eligibility for sealing

Criminal record sealing is not automatic. If you would like a criminal record sealed, you must apply for sealing by filing a motion with the court. There is specific information that must be included with the motion, such as a sworn statement from the defendant. An experienced New York expungement lawyer will explain the details of what must be included in the sworn statement as well as other information that must be included with the motion for sealing.

The minimum requirements for sealing are that at least 10 years must have elapsed since the sentencing for the crime that you want sealed, the conviction cannot be for an ineligible crime, and you must not already have 2 convictions sealed. There are several other factors that the judge will take into consideration including:

  • Time elapsed: The amount of time since the defendant’s last conviction. The longer the time period the better.
  • Seriousness of offense: The seriousness of the crime that the defendant wants sealed.
  • Details of the offense: The circumstances surrounding the crime that the defendant would like sealed.
  • Defendant’s character: Indicators that the defendant has taken steps toward rehabilitation, such as going to school or having a steady job.
  • Public safety: Impact of sealing on public safety.

If certain factors are present, the judge will automatically deny the application for sealing. For example, if the offense was a sexual assault for which the defendant was required to register as a sex offender, the request for concealment will be denied. Similarly, if the defendant has an arrest or charge that has not been resolved, if the defendant has another conviction after the crime for which sealing is requested, or if the defendant already has 2 convictions sealed, the judge will deny the application for sealing.

Contact the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates

If you have been convicted of a crime and would like to learn about getting your record sealed, now is the time to begin the process. However, it is important that you are represented by an attorney who has experience. The expungement attorneys serving clients in New York at the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates have years of experience successfully representing clients in New York criminal courts accused felonies and misdemeanors. Contact us at 800.696.9529 to schedule a free, no obligation consultation regarding your case. We serve clients in the following locations: the Bronx, Brooklyn, Long Island, Manhattan, Nassau County, Queens, Staten Island, Suffolk County and Westchester County.

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