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Finally! New Criminal Record Sealing Law in New York

The New York Legislature has passed and Governor Cuomo has signed into law a new section of the Criminal Procedure Law, § 160.59, allowing for the sealing of certain convictions. This change will benefit tens of thousands of deserving New Yorkers who are seeking to seal their criminal convictions and truly gain a fresh start on life.

The new law creates a process for those convicted of a crime to apply to the court to have their record sealed. To qualify, ten years must have passed since the imposition of sentence on the most recent conviction. An applicant also cannot have any pending charges or have any criminal convictions within the preceding 10 years. The judge reviewing this application is given discretion in deciding whether to grant sealing, and the prosecution can oppose your application. Obviously, it is important to present the strongest possible arguments for why the judge should grant your sealing application.

Under the new law, many crimes are eligible for record sealing, including most misdemeanor and many felony convictions. Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) convictions are also eligible for sealing.  Crimes/convictions which are ineligible for sealing include:

  • a sex offense defined in § 130 of the Penal Law
  • an offense contained in § 236 of the Penal Law (sexual performance by a child)
  • an offense contained in § 125 of the Penal Law (homicide)
  • a conviction for a violent felony as defined in Penal Law § 70.02
  • a Class A felony
  • Conspiracy convictions where the underlying offense would not be eligible for sealing
  • Offenses that require registration as a sex offender

A person with two or more felony convictions is also ineligible to apply for record sealing.

The law permits two eligible offenses to be sealed, but not more than one eligible felony offense may be sealed.

If you were convicted of a crime that is not listed above, and you were sentenced over 10 years ago, you might be eligible to have your record sealed. This is a tremendous opportunity to truly wipe the slate clean and turn the page to a new chapter in your life.

Just a few examples of who would qualify to have their records sealed:

  • A Westchester man convicted in 2006 of a misdemeanor DWI in violation of Vehicle and Traffic Law (VTL) 1192.2, who was sentenced to 3 years’ probation, would be eligible to apply for record sealing.
  • A Nassau woman convicted in 2001 of Grand Larceny in the 4th Degree (Penal Law § 155.30(1)), a class E felony, who was sentenced to 6 months in jail, would be eligible to apply for record sealing.
  • A Suffolk man who was convicted in 1997 of Assault in the 3rd Degree (Penal Law § 120.00(1)) and sentenced to a conditional discharge, would be eligible to apply for record sealing.

Since this new policy was signed into law only days ago, there will be more developments in the days and months ahead. If you have been convicted of a crime anywhere in the State of New York, and seek to know if you can have your record sealed, contact our firm at 516-294-0300 to discuss this exciting new opportunity.

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