Conviction Sealing for Nonviolent New York Offenders
One of the most burdensome aspects of a criminal conviction is the requirement to report that conviction on job, loan, and housing applications for years to come. It can be difficult to turn over a new leaf when the outside world still perceives you as the person who made some mistakes long ago.
New sealing statute offers those with records a chance at a brighter futureNew York has recently revised its Sealing Statutes with a new Criminal Procedure Law ?160.59, to allow more New York residents with criminal records a chance to put those mistakes behind them. Now, those with a nonviolent misdemeanor or felony conviction who have gone ten years without a new arrest can apply to have their prior conviction sealed. Sealing a conviction means that, while law enforcement and other government officials may be able to view your criminal record in some circumstances, these records won't be visible to the public through a background check, and you will no longer be required to disclose your conviction in nearly all circumstances. The new law is scheduled to take effect in October of 2017.
Qualifying for conviction sealingIn order to qualify to have your convictions sealed under the new law, ten years must have passed since the imposition of a sentence for a criminal offense, or since the completion of a prison term, if one was imposed. The applicant must not have been convicted of any new crimes during that ten-year period, and must not be facing pending charges when they apply to have their record sealed. Individuals can apply to have only non-violent offenses sealed, and can apply to have up to one felony and one misdemeanor (or two misdemeanors) sealed. If the applicant has more than one felony conviction, or has been convicted of more than two offenses, they are ineligible to apply for sealing. For example, those convicted of a felony DWI or possession of a controlled substance might be eligible to have their records sealed under the new law.