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How Do I Get My Criminal Record Sealed in New York City?

March 21, 2024 Uncategorized

How Do I Get My Criminal Record Sealed in New York City?

Having a criminal record can make life difficult. It can prevent you from getting jobs, housing, loans, and more. Fortunately, New York State allows people with certain eligible criminal convictions to have their records sealed. This means your criminal record is still available to law enforcement, but not to most private entities like employers and landlords.

What is Record Sealing?

Record sealing, also called record expungement, means your criminal record is essentially hidden from public view. Most private entities will not be able to see your sealed convictions. However, law enforcement and court systems will still have access for limited purposes. Getting your record sealed gives you a clean slate when it comes to housing, employment, education, and more.

Record sealing is not the same as having your conviction overturned. It simply limits public access to your criminal record while allowing law enforcement limited access.

Eligibility for Sealing Convictions in New York

You may be eligible to have your New York State conviction record sealed if:

  • You have no more than 2 convictions on your entire record
  • Your convictions were for eligible offenses (most misdemeanors and some felonies)
  • You have completed all court-ordered parts of your sentence at least 10 years ago

There are certain convictions that can never be sealed, such as violent felonies, sex offenses, and serious driving offenses like DUI. Check the eligibility requirements closely.

Waiting Periods to Seal New York Convictions

You must wait a certain number of years after completion of your sentence before sealing a New York conviction:

  • 10 years for most misdemeanors and eligible felonies
  • 5 years for most petty offenses and violations

The waiting period does not start until you have completed all parts of your sentence, including probation, parole, restitution payments, treatment programs, community service, etc.

How to Apply to Seal Your Criminal Record in New York City

  1. Make sure you meet the eligibility criteria explained above
  2. Obtain certificates of disposition for each conviction from the court clerk
  3. Complete this form to apply to seal your convictions
  4. File the form and certificates of disposition with the court that handled your convictions
  5. Serve copies to the District Attorney’s office and any other required agencies
  6. Attend your court hearing (usually 4-6 weeks after filing)

This process can be confusing, with lots of specific rules. Working with an experienced New York sealing attorney can help avoid mistakes.

Benefits of Sealing Your Criminal Record

Getting your record sealed can provide many valuable benefits:

  • Allow you to legally say you have no criminal record on most job & housing applications
  • Prevent convictions from showing up on most background checks done by employers
  • Improve your chances of getting hired and renting an apartment
  • Increase eligibility for student loans and higher education
  • Restore some civil rights lost with a felony conviction

Having your record sealed gives you a clean slate to more easily rebuild your life after a conviction.

Finding Help Sealing Your Record in NYC

Trying to handle the sealing process alone can be extremely difficult. This complex legal process is full of rules and deadlines. Working with an experienced sealing attorney provides valuable help navigating the process to avoid mistakes.

If you need assistance clearing your criminal record in New York City, check out these legal resources:

Getting legal advice can help make sure your sealing application is filled out properly. This gives you the best chance of having your record sealed so you can fully put your past convictions behind you.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can a sealed conviction still be used against me?

A sealed NY conviction remains on your record and visible to law enforcement. So it can still be used against you for setting bail, sentencing if convicted of another crime, qualifying as a repeat offender, etc. But most private entities will not have access.

What if I have convictions in multiple states?

You would need to have your record sealed separately under each state’s laws. An attorney experienced with multi-state sealing could help coordinate this process for you.

Can I seal a New York conviction from another state?

No, only New York State courts have jurisdiction to seal NY convictions. You would need to travel to New York to apply to seal convictions from courts there.


For more help sealing criminal records in NYC, check out these additional resources:

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