New York Record-Sealing Lawyer – A Helpful Guide
Getting arrested and convicted of a crime can haunt you for the rest of your life. Even a minor conviction like shoplifting or drug possession can show up on background checks and prevent you from getting jobs, housing, loans and other opportunities. Fortunately, New York has laws that allow people to seal certain criminal convictions after a period of time. This prevents many landlords, employers and others from seeing your criminal record.
Sealing your record won’t completely erase it – law enforcement will still have access, for example. But it can give you a fresh start and open up new possibilities. This article explains how New York’s record-sealing process works, who’s eligible, and how an experienced lawyer can help guide you through it.
Overview of New York Record Sealing
New York doesn’t allow expungement of criminal records, which would completely destroy them. Instead, it uses a process called “sealing” to hide convictions from public view. Some key things to know:
- You can seal up to 2 convictions – only 1 felony conviction maximum
- Must be crime-free for 10 years since last conviction
- Not all crimes can be sealed – no violent felonies, sex offenses, etc
- Sealing prevents public & most private employers from seeing record
- Law enforcement still has access to sealed records
Sealing is not automatic – you must petition the court. An experienced New York sealing lawyer can help prepare a strong application. Approval is up to the judge’s discretion, but a compelling case can get records sealed for eligible offenses.
Who Is Eligible For Record Sealing in New York?
To qualify for record sealing in New York, you must meet these basic conditions:
- Only 2 convictions on entire criminal record
- No more than 1 felony conviction
- 10 years passed since last conviction/release from incarceration
You can’t have any convictions for sex offenses, violent felonies, Class A felonies or certain other serious crimes. The 10-year waiting period starts from whenever is later – the date of conviction or the date of release from jail/prison.
If you have more than 2 total convictions, you may still be eligible if multiple convictions were from the same 1 or 2 incidents. For example, being convicted of several crimes during 1 arrest could count as 1 conviction.
In summary, if you have up to 2 low-level convictions from over 10 years ago, there’s a good chance you can seal your New York criminal record. An attorney can review your specific case.
New York Record Sealing Process
Sealing your criminal record in New York involves filing a motion in court and serving it on the District Attorney’s office. It’s not as simple as filling out a form. Key steps include:
- Get Certificate of Disposition for each case from the court
- Prepare sealing application with affidavit explaining why conviction should be sealed
- Serve the application on District Attorney – they have 45 days to object
- File application and supporting documents with original conviction court
- Attend court hearing if D.A. objects or judge requires it
- If approved, get signed Seal Order from judge
- Verify sealing completed correctly with Division of Criminal Justice
It’s highly recommended to work with an experienced New York sealing lawyer when applying. They can ensure your application is air-tight and compelling. If the D.A. objects, your lawyer can fight for you at the hearing.
Benefits of Sealing Your New York Criminal Record
- Arrest records, case files and court records
- Fingerprints, mugshots and DNA samples
- Duplicates and copies held by courts or law enforcement
Sealed records can only be accessed by specific agencies, mainly law enforcement and courts. Employers required to run fingerprint checks may also get access. But otherwise your criminal history is hidden.
Sealing gives you a true second chance in life. It allows you to apply for jobs, housing, loans and opportunities without being haunted by long-ago mistakes. An experienced sealing lawyer can guide your application every step of the way.
Finding the Right New York Sealing Lawyer
The record sealing application process has strict requirements. An experienced attorney knows how to prepare a convincing application that checks all the boxes. They can advise you on assembling documents, evidence of rehabilitation, and crafting a compelling personal affidavit.
If your application gets challenged, your lawyer can represent you at the hearing and advocate persuasively on your behalf. Their expertise and credibility can make all the difference.
When choosing a New York record sealing lawyer, look for these important qualifications:
- Extensive experience specifically with New York sealing cases
- Proven track record of successful sealings
- Strong relationships and credibility with local prosecutors & judges
- Affordable flat-fee pricing, not hourly billing
- Excellent reviews and reputation with past clients
A qualified sealing attorney wants you to get a fresh start. They will fight hard to convince the court you deserve record sealing. This can open doors that may seem permanently closed.
If you meet the eligibility requirements, record sealing can be a new lease on life after an old conviction. But the application process is complex. Working with an experienced New York sealing lawyer gives you the best chance of success. They will handle every detail and build the strongest possible case on your behalf.
Sealing your record won’t completely erase the past. But it can allow you to move forward and regain precious opportunities. An attorney can advise if you qualify and guide you through the sealing process from start to finish. Don’t let an old mistake keep holding you back. Take the first step today.