For many, a criminal conviction may not carry a lifelong prison sentence, but it can carry a lifelong sentence of lost opportunities, job discrimination and other consequences. Even those who never face another conviction might have to live with punishment for a crime that took place many years ago. This could change, though, with a new law taking effect in October regarding criminal record sealing.
According to the Collateral Consequences Resource Center, §160.59 of New York’s Criminal Procedure Law will allow for new sealing provisions that make New York one of the most generous states in the country for such. You should know the following facts.
You may seal two convictions
The law provides for sealing up to two convictions at the discretion of the court. This means that any person with a criminal conviction may petition the court that tried them to have the records of the conviction sealed. One stipulation of this provision, however, is that only one of the crimes sealed may be a felony conviction.
Some crimes are not eligible
Although the law change will benefit many people with convictions, there are some who will not be eligible to have their crimes sealed. These include any person convicted of a sex crime, violent felony or class A felony. If your conviction is less than 10 years old, you may have to wait to have its records sealed.
Get started by filing an application
Sealing of conviction records does not occur automatically. Those interested should file an application with the court which handled the case originally. You must also include a sworn statement explaining the reason for sealing. This can be a challenging process to navigate. An experienced criminal defense attorney can help.