If you have been tried and convicted of a crime, it’s highly possible that you could have your records sealed. Some states allow for an outright expungement, but New York does not. However, having your records sealed is along the same lines as an expungement. Of course, each case is different and there are never any guarantee, but it does not hurt to consult with a criminal defense attorney in order to determine if you qualify to have your records sealed under New York State law.
Sealing your record is just one way of trying to right your wrong. Even though you may have pled guilty or you may have been convicted of a crime years ago, depending on the situation, you could be eligible to withdraw your plea or request that your conviction is vacated, which could result in an outright dismissal of the charges.
Who Qualifies for Record Sealing
You may be eligible to have your records sealed if you were not incarcerated in state prison. Also, you must have completed any court-imposed probation, paid restitution and all of the fines and not have any new charges pending in court. Some crimes are not eligible for record expungement, including serious traffic offenses or sexual offenses.
How Record Sealing Can Help
Having your records sealed does not remove the conviction altogether — the conviction and dismissal still appear on your record. Also, keep in mind that there will possibly be certain restrictions that came from the conviction may still stand, such as the inability to hold public office or owning firearms. The conviction may also be used when determining a sentence for another criminal conviction.
However, these limitations aside, having your records sealed is highly beneficial. For example, if you have your criminal record sealed and you’re applying for a job in the private sector, you do not have to disclose the sealed conviction when and if your potential employer asks.
If you apply to have your records sealed, certain entities or individuals will still be able to see the original crime. This includes the following:
You if you run a copy of your own rap sheet.
Any entity you apply for a firearm license.
Potential employment as a law enforcement oficer.
Potential employment where carrying a gun is required.
Once your criminal record is sealed, any related booking photos, samples of your DNA, palmprints and fingerprint cards, and all other documents are destroyed. The only exception would be that of digital fingerprints that may be kept if you have another fingerprint on file that does not qualify for record sealing. New York allows the records of certain minor violations, juvenile offenses and traffic infractions. Each case is reviewed individually and the decision to have your records sealed is on a case-by-case basis. It’s best to have an experienced criminal law attorney on your side in order to ensure that your request is handled fairly and efficiently.
If you’re unable to get your criminal charge sealed, it’s possible you’ll be able to ask for a pardon. It’s also possible you can petition to have felony charges reduced to misdemeanor charges, or ask for an early release from probation before you seek the sealing of your records.
Consult with a criminal defense attorney for more information surrounding the sealing of your records. While it’s not a guarantee, even if it seems like your current situation may qualify you for the sealing of your records, it’s certainly worth it to take the time and consult with a legal professional.
Brooklyn Criminal Arraignment Lawyers
The experience of being arrested is upsetting. In New York, a person could be placed in a jail cell or given a desk appearance ticket (DAT) after their arrest. The next thing that will happen is they will be required to attend an Arraignment hearing. The time between being arrested and attending an Arraignment hearing is usually 24 hours. This amount of time can be extended to 72 hours if a person is arrested during a weekend or holiday. Most people are released if they are not given an Arraignment hearing after 24 hours.
Prior To Arraignment
It is important during the time after an arrest and before the arraignment; the arrested person speak with an attorney. Once a person is arrested, they will be asked questions about their case from police as well as a district attorney. It’s important for them to realize even the most innocent statement make at this time can be used against them in the future.
This is something that can take place prior to the return of an indictment. This conference is held at the Criminal Division office where the criminal offense occurred. Before this conference takes place, a defendant and their attorney will be able to review discovery and any other available evidence. This will give the defendant’s defense team a chance to carefully examine the details of a case. The results of this could lead to a defendant wanting to negotiate a plea bargain. In some cases, a defendant decides to plead guilty to the charges.
Waiver Of Arraignment
It is possible in certain circumstances for the defense attorney to waive an arraignment on behalf of their client. In this situation, the attorney is stating to the court that their client is aware of the charges and is entering a not guilty plea. A defendant will avoid the formal arraignment process, which includes having their charges put on the record as well as their indictment read aloud. All of this is done without the time required for an appearance in court. A defendant won’t have to go through the formal arraignment process. A trial calendar or docket in a Ne York Court will move forward with the same steps with or without a formal arraignment.
It is essential that a person who has been arrested attend their arraignment. Should they not go to their arraignment, a bench warrant will be issued for their arrest. If a defendant believes they will be able to discuss the charges against them or tell their side of the story at an arraignment; they’re wrong. The only reason for this court appearance is so a defendant can hear the charges against them. After the charges are read to the defendant, they will be asked to enter a plea. Should a person enter a plea of not guilty, the court will determine if they can be released. A person could be released without the requirement of paying bail. They could also be required to pay a bail amount to the court as a condition of being released. The purpose of bail is to ensure a defendant returns to court for their trial. A defendant’s attorney could also request bail for their client and have it denied. A defendant can also be put in jail.
Should a defendant hear a prosecutor say “Seven-Ten-Thirty-One-A” at their arraignment, a notice is being given to the court that the police have the defendant on record making a statement during their arrest concerning the crime. This is a statement a prosecutor will be able to use at trial. It could be an oral statement, written statement or both. The statement may or may not be recorded. Once a prosecutor has provided a court with notice, they are permitted to summarize the defendant’s statement to the judge.
Arraignment on Misdemeanor Charges
This criminal complaint is generally insufficient for the Assistant District Attorney to proceed to trial. This is because it generally contains hearsay allegations in the criminal complaint. The criminal complaint can be signed by a NYPD officer or Detective with the District Attorneys office who doesn’t have the requisite personal knowledge to remove the hearsay from the criminal complaint. In order for the criminal complaint to be converted into an information, an individual who has personal knowledge must sign and swear to a supporting deposition. This document is also referred to as a corroborating affidavit. Certain crimes require other documents to convert the criminal complaint into an information. For example, drug cases will often require a laboratory report confirming that the substance was actually illegal narcotics A gun case might require that the gun was actually capable of being fired. In cases charging defendants with a DWI or a violation of the Vehicle and Traffic Law (“VTL”) all of the supporting documents might be ready at the arraignment.
If you are arrested, and charged with a misdemeanor offense and remain incarcerated pending the case the Assistant District Attorney will have five (5) days from the date of the arraignment (not including Sunday) for the Assistant District Attorney to convert the criminal complaint into an information.
If the criminal complaint is converted into an information the case might get adjourned for motions, and/or hearings or trial. If the criminal complaint is not converted into an information then the case will get adjourned for the Assistant District Attorney to file the supporting deposition and a certificate of readiness. The New York Criminal Procedure Law does not allow the assistant district attorney endless time to file the necessary paperwork Depending on the charges, depends on the amount of the time the people have to be ready for trial. In the event they are not ready in the applicable time period the case can be dismissed.
According to New York criminal law, for a Class A misdemeanor the Assistant District Attorney must be ready for trial within 90 days. For a Class B misdemeanor the Assistant District Attorney must be ready for trial within 60 days. This time period is referred to as speedy trial.
Arraignment on Felony Charges
If you are charged with a felony charge and bail is set at your criminal court arraignment, the case will be adjourned from arraignments to the 180.80 date. CPL 180.80 is the section of the criminal procedure law that states if you are incarcerated pursuant to a felony complaint, the assistant district attorney has 120 hours for the grand jury to vote an indictment or you must be released on your own recognizance.
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