File folder with handcuffsThis is the next post in my series on the sealing of New York criminal records. My last article discussed the effect of sealing a record. Completing the process will make one’s history inaccessible to many who would perform a background check. Such individuals are also prohibited from inquiring about a record which has been successfully sealed. This can be of great assistance to those who have served their debt to society and now wish to move on with their lives. In this article I will discuss the circumstances under which one may be eligible to complete the process. If you or a loved one are in need of assistance then contact my office today to speak with a lawyer.

In 2017, New York greatly expanded the eligibility requirements for clearing a record. Under NYCPL 160.59, one may seal their record if the following requirements are met:

  • The defendant has no more than two prior convictions, and not more than one felony
  • The defendant was not convicted of a sex offense requiring registration
  • The defendant was not convicted of a Class A violent felony
  • It has been at least ten years since the defendant was convicted or released from prison
  • The defendant has no pending cases or outstanding charges

If the aforementioned requirements are met, then the Judge will consider the following factors when deciding whether or not to grant a sealing of the records:

  • The amount of time which has elapsed since the most recent conviction
  • The nature of the original charges against the defendant (as opposed to the actual crime they were convicted on)
  • The nature of the conviction
  • The character of the defendant
  • Statements made by the victim
  • How the sealing may impact a defendant’s rehabilitation
  • How the sealing may impact public safety

If the Judge is satisfied that the sealing of a record is justified, then he or she will sign an order doing so.

While the eligibility to clear a record may seem straightforward, the fact of the matter is that complications may arise. If the Court is concerned with how the sealing will impact society, then it is important to articulate why it is in the best interests of both the public and the defendant to go forward. Retaining counsel who is experienced in presenting facts, to the Court, can assist with ensuring that your matter is handled correctly.

If you need to clear your criminal history, and are unsure about your eligibility to do so, then contact my office to speak with a Long Island record sealing lawyer. I am a former public defender who believes that people are entitled to a second chance. I work to provide the highest levels of representation and my office is ready to assist you. Call today to speak with an attorney. My office also serves Kings County residents in Brooklyn, residents of Queens, those in Nassau and Suffolk Counties, as well as people in other New York areas.