Sure, I was being a bit tongue-and-cheek with the title to this blog entry, but the more I read about the Clean Slate Act (A. 1029A and S.211), a potential law that will automatically seal all misdemeanor and felony convictions other than sex crimes, the more I fear New York may have again lost its way in pursuit of a just and righteous end. No, the criminal justice system will not be sending criminals from our courthouses with babka in hand while telling their victims not to let the door hit them on the way out, but someone has to tap the brakes before we find ourselves with indelible regret that no statute can seal.
Financial professionals who have taken and passed the Series 6, 7, 63, 65 or 66 exams know that an arrest and conviction can decimate careers regulated and overseen by FINRA. Many of these men and women, however, are unaware that New York State allows people with no more than two criminal convictions, of which only one can be a non-violent felony, to apply to have their criminal record sealed pursuant to NY Criminal Procedure law 160.59. Although not expunged, once the record is sealed, except for some specified organizations and law enforcement agencies, employers and the general public are prevented from “seeing” their past. With the above in mind, the following questions come time mind that are worthy of review with a lawyer versed in New York sealing law. If, for example, you were convicted of Assault, Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance or even Grand Larceny, must you disclose on your FINRA U4 the old arrest and criminal conviction if you successfully had the same sealed? For that matter, if you already shared the information as broker-dealers are obliged, is there a way to remove these records or prevent FINRA from keeping or sharing your history or taking adverse actions? Simply (albeit, not that simply), before responding to Criminal Disclosure questions 14A and 14B and determining how to protect yourself if you already disclosed a now sealed criminal conviction, it behooves you to discuss your specific matter with a knowledgeable attorney experienced in NYS’s pseudo-expungement law, FINRA’s U4 and relevant statutes including NYS Human Rights Law 296(16).
Our client, previously convicted of Fourth Degree Criminal Mischief, was sentenced in 2015 to a conditional discharge. Further, as part of the disposition of a case involving, among other allegations, Criminal Possession of a Weapon and Menacing, the Court issued a five year Order of Protection in favor of a cab driver despite the fact that the complainant and our client were strangers. After moving out of New York State and pursuing a new career, the Restraining Order, not the underlying conviction, began to cause our client issues because it appeared on background checks. Wanting to secure relief from the Order of Protection that functionally served no purpose to protect an unknown person in a state where our client did not reside, the client reached out to the criminal lawyers at Saland Law PC to vacate the Order of Protection.
Can I have my firearm conviction sealed? Does New York Criminal Procedure Law 160.59 apply to weapon and gun crimes? The short answer to the above questions is “maybe.” Fortunately for a recent Saland Law PC client, the specific answer was “yes.” A complicated sealing application, after litigating an old 1980s conviction for New York Penal Law 265.02(1), Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the Third Degree, where the prosecution argued that the sentencing court incorrectly recorded the conviction as a non-violent offense, the presiding judge agreed with our lawyers’ motion to “expunge.” In substance, the District Attorney argued that the charges contained in the indictment were violent felonies and, as a result, the conviction was not an eligible offense pursuant to CPL 160.59(2)(a).
Since New York CPL 160.59 went into effect in 2017, many hard working and honest people have asked, “Can I seal my old criminal conviction or get it expunged?” Once they realize that they can, their asks routinely morph into, “How do I seal my criminal record?” While the process is not overly complicated to the untrained eye, attention to detail and the proper application of the law is critical. After all, you only get one bite out of the proverbial apple. Fortunately for clients who retained Saland Law PC to seal their respective misdemeanor and felony records, “can” and “how” are questions of the past. No longer haunted by past wrongdoing north of a decade old, their criminal convictions are sealed to the public, friends, and employers. From Forgery in the Second Degree to Attempted Sale of a Controlled Substance in the Third Degree, class D and C felonies, to lesser misdemeanor crimes, our New York conviction sealing lawyers are proud to provide closure to our clients’ shameful pasts and an end to the painful stigma they endured for years.
The term “identity theft” is one that makes anyone and everyone cringe. After all, there are few people who have not been effected by a fraud crime relating to Identity Theft. Unfortunately, when many people hear of this offense they often think large scale fraud involving social security numbers, bank accounts and thousands, if not many more, dollars. If you have been convicted of an Article 190 crime such as Third, Second or First Degree Identity Theft, then you don’t need a criminal lawyer or sealing attorney to advise you how adversely having such a conviction on your criminal record has impacted getting a job, securing a promotion, or merely finding solid employment. Fortunately, your question of whether you can seal or expunge a conviction for Identity Theft in New York can finally be answered. While most convictions that are neither legally defined as violent crimes nor considered sex offenses are initially eligible for sealing pursuant to New York Criminal Procedure Law 160.59, the same cannot be said for expungement. Do not panic. While New York does not expunge criminal convictions and “only” potentially seals certain crimes, sealing can potentially “erase” your criminal conviction from public view and New York Penal Law 190.78, 190.79 and 190.80 are all likely NY CPL 160.59 eligible offenses.
Unlike DWI arrests in New York where you refuse to “blow,” there are other DWI or DUI crimes that are based on evidence of a person having a BAC of .08 or more. These drunk driving crimes are codified in New York Vehicle and Traffic Law 1192.2. While VTL 1192.2 is the same misdemeanor offense as a Common Law or Refusal DWI of VTL 1192.3, they are also different. These former DUI crimes are not based on whether you were staggering, unsteady on your feet and had slurred speech, but simply on whether your BAC was equal to or exceeded .08 even if you did not exhibit any of the indicia of intoxication. This blog entry addresses the conviction sealing eligibility issues found in New York Criminal Procedure Law 160.59 as it relates to a VTL 1192.2 arrest and conviction. Further, this article briefly examines whether you can seal a DWI conviction and, if so, how you file an application to seal your DWI.
I called my ex-girlfriend dozens of times and was ultimately convicted of Second Degree Aggravated Harassment. There was an order of protection issued, but I completed my anger management without any problems. Can I now get my criminal record cleaned and erased? Can I purge or seal a conviction for New York Penal Law 240.30? Does it matter I was incarcerated for three months and then had to complete three years probation?
With the passage and implementation of New York Criminal Procedure Law 160.59, “Sealing of Certain Convictions,” what was once an irrevocable and permanent blemish on one’s criminal record may no longer be the case. Instead of answering “yes” when an employer inquires about a criminal record, should you successfully seal an eligible conviction, New York Executive Law 296(16) precludes most potential employers from asking about your sealed criminal conviction or mandating that you divulge any information about the same.
A crime that is routinely prosecuted in New York City, and likely elsewhere through the State of New York, is New York Penal Law 265.01(1), Fourth Degree Criminal Possession of a Weapon. More specifically, if you knowingly possess a gravity knife or a switchblade knife you are guilty of a class “A” misdemeanor. Because of the severity of the crime, its creation of a permanent criminal record as a result of a conviction, and the fact that what the State identifies as a gravity knife often results in regular people being charged with crimes they had no idea they violated, there are many offenders who should consider having their old criminal conviction for PL 265.01 sealed in accordance with New York Criminal Procedure Law 160.59. For that matter, whether you had metal knuckles, a slingshot, shirken, chucka stick or any other per se weapon, conviction sealing is an option to consider.
One of the problems with PL 265.01, and reason why it is an offense that you should seek to seal from your criminal record, is that on its face a conviction for any weapon offense has the worst possible connotation for and to a prospective employer. While one might argue a switchblade knife is often associated with a dangerous instrument, a gravity knife can be something as simple as a multi-tool purchased at a hardware store. While this blog does not address the merits of the law, the questions posed here are can you apply to have your conviction for NY PL 265.01 sealed with the passage of CPL 160.59 and is Fourth Degree Criminal Possession of a Weapon an eligible offense?
In the State of New York, a DWI arrest and conviction can be based on different theories of the law. One such DUI or drunk driving crime is found in New York Vehicle and Traffic Law 1192.3. Often referred to as either Common Law DWI or Refusal DWI, this Driving While Intoxicated crime is based not on a “blow” of .08 or higher, but merely on a police officer’s experience and observations of, for example, a flushed face, watery-bloodshot eyes and the smell of alcohol on your breath. No, this blog entry does not address the legality of a refusal to provide a breath sample or the legal sufficiency of a DWI complaint charging VTL 1192, but a set of question asked by countless individuals convicted of DWI in New York: Can I seal my criminal conviction for a Common Law or Refusal DWI or DUI and, if so, how do I seal and remove the DWI arrest from my rap sheet or criminal record?