Hire an experienced criminal defense lawyer to help seal your record in New York - Louise Hochberg, Esquire
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Hire an experienced criminal defense lawyer to help seal your record in New York

Hire an experienced criminal defense lawyer to help seal your record in New York

A criminal record can be a barrier to employment, obtaining loans, professional licenses, admission to college, training programs, and security clearances. It can impact immigration status and the ability to remain in this country if you were not born here. 

Under a recently enacted provision in the New York Criminal Procedure Law (CPL), you may be able to apply to seal your criminal record. A Long Island criminal defense lawyer can help you get your record sealed so that you can move forward free of the stigma it brings. 

Who Is Eligible in Long Island? 

If at least 10 years has passed since your last conviction, you may be eligible. If you served time for the crime, the 10-year period starts to run on the date you were released from jail or prison.  

Sealing is authorized for individuals who have been convicted of no more than two eligible offenses. Only one of those convictions can be for a felony and not all felonies qualify for sealing. A conviction for more than one eligible offense that was committed as part of the same crime shall be considered one offense. 

What Crimes Are Not Eligible for Sealing in Long Island?

In general, the following offenses are NOT eligible for sealing:

*Felony offenses defined in Section 175 of the New York Penal Law which are offenses 

 involving false written statements;

*Felony conspiracy to commit an ineligible offense;

*Attempt to commit an ineligible felony offense; 

*A violent felony offense as defined in section 70.02 of the Penal Law;

*A Class A felony offense;

*Any sex offense defined in Article 130 of the Penal Law;

*Any offenses defined in Article 263 of the Penal Law which are offenses relating to 

 sexual performance by a child;

*Any offense for which registration as a sex offender is required.

All other crimes in the New York Penal Law should be eligible for sealing in Long Island. Work with a Long Island criminal defense lawyer to learn more.  

Image result for photo or image of expunging criminal record

How Do I Apply?  

If you want to get your record sealed expeditiously, you should hire a New York attorney. A qualified criminal defense lawyer will walk you through the process and maximize your chances of getting your record sealed. They will help you complete the required paperwork, gather the information you need to support your application, appear for you in court and advocate on your behalf. Note that this article cannot be relied on to guide you through this process or serve as a substitute for expert legal counsel.  It is only meant to provide a general overview. 

General Outline of the Sealing Process

Hire a Long Island criminal defense lawyer to guide you through the following process:

  1. Obtain certificates of disposition from the court(s) where you were convicted.
  1. Obtain and fill out a Sealing Application which includes a notice of motion and 

an affidavit in support of the motion.

  1. Serve a copy of the papers on the district attorney in the county where your case(s) was/were heard.
  1. Fill out the Affidavit of Service contained in the Sealing Application.
  1. File the application and all supporting documentation with the appropriate court.  

What Happens After I Apply?

The district attorney is required to notify the court within 45 days if he or she objects to the application for sealing.

Your motion will be assigned to the sentencing judge or, if more than one application is filed it will be assigned to the county court or supreme court where the criminal court is located.

The court will receive a fingerprint based criminal history. This will include any sealed or suppressed records. The FBI will also provide a criminal history from any other jurisdictions. 

Even with a criminal defense lawyer, your motion will still be automatically denied under the following circumstances:

  1. You previously obtained sealing for the maximum number of convictions allowed.
  1. You are facing an undisposed arrest or pending charge.
  1. You failed to provide the court with the required sworn statement of the reasons why the court should seal your record.
  1. It is less than 10 years since your conviction or release from prison or jail.
  1. You have been convicted of two or more felonies or more than two crimes. 
  1.  You are required to register as a sex offender.

If the application is not summarily denied

If the application does not require a summary denial and the district attorney does not oppose it, no hearing is required.

If the district attorney opposes the application, the court must conduct a hearing in order to consider evidence that would help the judge make a decision.

Factors under consideration in criminal record sealing

How good are your chances of getting your criminal record sealed? It’s hard to say without consulting a Long Island criminal defense lawyer, since every case is different, but these factors are considered: 

  1. The amount of time that has elapsed since your last conviction.
  2. The circumstances and seriousness of the underlying crime.
  3. Your character: have you taken steps towards rehabilitation? Have you received any training or education? Do you work, do community service or participate in other volunteer activities?
  4. Victim statements.
  5. The impact that sealing your record will have on your life.
  6. The impact on public safety, confidence and respect for the law.
Image result for free photo or image of sealing criminal record

What Happens After a Conviction Is Sealed?

All official records and papers relating to the arrests, prosecutions and convictions on file with the division of criminal justice services or any court shall be sealed. The division will however, retain any fingerprints, palmprints, photographs, or digital images relating to you and your past convictions.

The sealed record will not be made available to any person or public or private agency EXCEPT for those permitted by statute. Those include, but are not limited to the following: you, your designated agent, courts in the unified court system, probation departments, sheriffs’ offices, district attorneys’ offices, the state department of corrections and community service, use for certain investigations conducted by child protective services, the financial frauds and consumer protection unit of the state department of financial services, the office of the Medicaid inspector general, the office of professional medical conduct, police forces, US Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and police departments. 

Conclusion: Hire a Long Island Criminal Defense Lawyer

Prior to enacting the “Sealing of certain convictions” Statute in 2017, New York was one of a minority of states that did not allow individuals convicted of misdemeanors and lower-level felonies to seal their records. The sealing provision provides an opportunity for individuals to get past the stigma that comes along with having a criminal record. They can now apply for jobs and other positions without facing embarrassment and barriers because of mistakes made long ago.  

While this statute provides some meaningful relief, 10 years is simply too long to wait for a misdemeanor record to be sealed. Consider the state of the law across the country in regard to sealing or expunging misdemeanor records: Arkansas immediate sealing provided, Illinois three year waiting period, Indiana five years, Kansas three to five years, Kentucky five years, Louisiana five years, Maine five years, Michigan five years, Missouri three years, Nevada one to seven years, North Carolina five years, Ohio one to three years, Oklahoma zero to five years, South Carolina five years, Tennessee five years and Vermont five years. We can only hope that New York catches up soon! 

This article does not constitute legal advice, so if you are serious about getting your criminal record sealed, speak with a Long Island criminal defense lawyer to learn about the process.