Yes - New York Allows Criminal Convictions to be Sealed
The criminal justice system can do a number on someone’s life, far beyond when they’re convicted of a crime and might even do years or decades in prison. Long after a person serves their sentence, whether that is probation or jail, the records related to that conviction are usually still made available to potential employers, landlords, and other authority figures. Understandably, this creates a problem for many individuals and it might cause havoc in someone’s life if those people were to learn about the convictions. Thankfully, New Yorkers now have a new lease on life with the possibility of having those criminal convictions sealed and hidden from public view. Under Criminal Procedure Law §160.59, it is possible to seal criminal convictions.
Ways Criminal Convictions Adversely Affect Life
A felony conviction is the most serious type of conviction under New York law. If someone was convicted of a felony, that conviction, even if years later, might still show up as a public record. It will impact your voting rights, your right to own a gun, and your ability to become employed and a place to live. Landlords often frown on felony convictions and refuse to rent to someone with such a conviction. The “Sealing of Certain Convictions” law in New York, which went into effect in October, 2017, is meant to give hope to offenders who seek to move beyond their conviction and work to do well in their lives. Since the consequences of a felony conviction or misdemeanor conviction are numerous and far-reaching it is important that you consider using the Sealing of Certain Convictions law to have convictions sealed.
Know the Exceptions to the Sealing Statute
While some crimes are eligible to be sealed, others are not. Sex offenses and violent crimes are generally are going to stay on your record but it doesn’t hurt to talk to an attorney about sealing records just in case your particular offense qualifies for sealing under the law. There are many qualifying felonies and misdemeanors that might be able to be sealed under Section 160.59.
The General Process For Sealing
First, you must be eligible to have your records sealed. This begins with the process of filing an application for sealing and will need to include a sworn statement from you. Second, only two convictions can be sealed. If you have more than that, you are going to have to pick and choose which convictions you want sealed. If you have less than that, you’ll need to apply to have both of them sealed.
Learn More About Sealing of Criminal Convictions
Criminal convictions can affect many of the most important areas of your life in the long term. Think about all of the necessities that may be impacted: housing, employment, voting and security, all of which can be difficult to obtain if your criminal record keeps showing up in background reports.
Stephen J. Riebling, Jr. and Marcia Payton are criminal defense attorneys at Riebling & Payton, PLLC, located in Westchester County, NY. They have been defending clients charged with felony and misdemeanor crimes for decades. To learn more about them, the firm and their approach please visit Riebling & Payton, PLLC at www.RieblingPaytonLaw.com.