Thanks to a new provision included in the New York State budget that was passed on April 12, and signed into law by Governor Andrew Cuomo, tens of thousands of New Yorkers will be eligible for relief from the lifelong stigma of a criminal record, allowing them to have a broad range of eligible convictions—misdemeanor and felony—sealed from public view after a ten-year waiting period running from the date of conviction or release from prison.
The new statutory provision (§ 160.59) added to New York’s Criminal Procedure Law gives courts the discretion to seal up to two convictions per person (only one of which may be a felony), for all crimes other than sex offenses and class A and violent felonies.
The sealed records will remain available to law enforcement and some licensing agencies, but will be unavailable to the public and will not appear in any civil background check.
The new law will take effect on September 27, 2017. Eligible individuals may apply to have up to two convictions sealed to the court where the conviction for the most serious offense occurred (or to the court of the most recent conviction if both offenses are of the same class). The district attorney or case prosecutor will have the opportunity to object, and the court retains the right to grant or deny any request.
In order to be eligible, you must not have any pending charges or have received any other criminal convictions within the ten-year period. In contemplating whether to grant an application to seal, courts will consider the amount of time between offenses; the applicant’s character and rehabilitation efforts, such as treatment programs, work, school, or volunteer work; and the impact the sealing would have on the applicant’s rehabilitation and reentry into society.
If you have a criminal record and think you might qualify for record sealing under New York’s new law, LaMarche Safranko Law can help. Contact us at (518) 982-0770 or online.