You’ve taken responsibility and paid your dues. It now begs the question. Can my misdemeanor conviction be sealed? Can my drug arrest be expunged? Is there a statute in New York to clear my criminal record? Its been years, even decades, since my arrest, conviction and sentencing for Seventh Degree Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance in New York. How do I now get a conviction for New York Penal Law 220.03 vacated, cleaned, washed away, expunged, sealed or any other relief to keep my past from destroying my future? As you can discuss with your criminal defense attorney and conviction sealing lawyer, whether you were convicted by a plea of guilty or by a jury of your peers, simple possession of cocaine, crack-cocaine, heroin, or any other controlled substance can be sealed from your record with a motion to your sentencing court in accordance with New York Criminal Procedure Law 160.59.
What is the benefit of sealing my criminal record? Why would I want to expunge an old arrest? Even if my criminal case is sealed, can employers still see my case, the evidence or accusations? All reasonable questions to ask your criminal defense attorney, or more appropriately your conviction sealing lawyer, the answer to these questions start with the purpose behind New York State’s passage of Criminal Procedure Law 160.59. NY CPL 160.59, the New York sealing statute, allows for the “public removal” or in some cases limited access to certain past criminal convictions. As addressed in other blog entries and in substantive detail on Crotty Saland PC’s New York Sealing Law Information Page, the goal of NY CPL 160.59 is to allow individuals who have led law abiding lives for more than ten years, have eligible non-sex offense and other convictions, and can provide a reason for a court to consider a sealing motion, to file for “expungement” of the criminal case(s). The caveat to all of this is that the law limits your eligibility to a criminal past involving no more than two convictions of which only one can be a felony and even if the court agreed with your sealing attorney’s application, no judge can actually expunge your criminal record. That’s right. While you may have your criminal record sealed and blocked from public view, law enforcement will have the ability to access your criminal history in perpetuity.
This all begs the question that you will no doubt vet with your NY CPL 160.59 sealing attorney. If I seal my criminal record who can see it?
Nobody likes an answer of “maybe,” but the practical reality to the question of whether a conviction or criminal record for Assault in New York can be sealed is partially yes and partially no. First, with the negative, New York has no provision in its criminal procedure law to expunge your conviction for any degree of Assault. However, there is a remedy for anyone convicted of a non-violent Assault (that’s right, non-violent) to seek a sealing of their criminal conviction from their public criminal record. Doesn’t make sense? Bare with me.
Assuming that you have no more than two misdemeanor convictions or one misdemeanor and one felony, the judge before whom you were sentence has the authority pursuant to New York Criminal Procedure Law 160.59 to seal your criminal conviction subject to a few relevant and critical points as to eligibility.
There are few crimes more embarrassing in terms of both arrest and conviction than those related to prostitution. No, nobody says growing up they want to solicit and patronize prostitutes just as young boys and girls don’t aspire to become prostitutes when they grow into women and men. Simply, good people make poor choices or find themselves in situations that leaves them feeling desperate or hopeless. While this blog entry is not meant to serve as a justification nor condemnation of those convicted of New York Penal Law section 230.00 and 230.04 respectively, it simply addresses a very reasonable and pertinent question. Can my conviction for PL 230.00 or my conviction for PL 230.04 be sealed to either the public or private entities? Commencing on October 2017 the answer to both of these questions is a very clear, albeit a time consuming and detailed path, yes. With the passage of New York Criminal Procedure Law 160.59, the court that sentenced you upon your conviction to either Prostitution or Third Degree Patronizing a Prostitute now has the authority and discretion to seal, although not expunge, your criminal conviction and case.
New York Criminal Procedure Law 160.59 is the mechanism by which a convict (pardon the term), can motion the court of their conviction to have their criminal cases, convictions and record sealed. Explained in greater detail throughout the Sealing and Expungement section of this blog as well as on the New York Sealing Law Information Page at CrottySaland.Com, before your attorney makes a sealing application you must satisfy a litany of factors or elements necessary for consideration. Failure to do so will result in an outright denial and rejection of your sealing motion. Briefly, some of these requirements are that your criminal convictions do not include sex crimes mandating Sex Offender Registration (SORA), violent offenses as defined by law, “Class “A” felonies or more than one felony in a two criminal conviction total allotment. Although there are more factors, this entry will address the final element listed here. What if you have two convictions, a misdemeanor and felony or two misdemeanors, in two different jurisdictions within New York State? Are you required to make to separate applications to both courts? If not, will one court hear both of your motions and which court will do so?
The question isn’t whether you should work with a New York “expungement” lawyer or sealing attorney to hide or conceal an old criminal record or conviction, but whether or not you are eligible to do so. With the passage of NY Criminal Procedure Law 160.59, what was only offered by other states is now available to those who have criminal convictions in New York more than a decade old. Although NY CPL 160.59 and the equally important NY Executive Law 269(16) does not take effect until October 2017, there is no reason to wait until then to begin the long process to prepare your motion and petition for sealing and pseudo-expungement. Should you successfully petition your sentencing court, other than law enforcement, most public and private employers and licensing and certifying agencies will see nothing but a clean slate.
Simply, there is no better place to start on your path to a sealed criminal past than with Crotty Saland PC’s NY quick and easy conviction sealing eligibility quiz.
Can I have my criminal record sealed in New York? Are convictions eligible for sealing in New York? Whatever your question may be, after asking whether or not you are eligible to have your criminal record sealed and what standard your sentencing judge will follow when deciding whether he or she will seal your criminal record (as noted repeatedly, this is different than expunging your criminal record, but the most similar pathway New York), the follow up questions is quite obvious. “What is the impact and effect of sealing a criminal conviction if it is not exactly the same thing as expungement?” Good question. I couldn’t have asked it any better if I wrote it out myself.
How do I get my criminal conviction expunged in New York? Is anyone eligible for expungement of their criminal history? For that matter, does New York expunge past criminal convictions? The short answer to these very good questions is that while New York will start sealing certain criminal convictions in October 2017, New York does not expunge. Period (but read on).
Not all is lost, however, and quite far from it. Thanks to a very generous and fairly progressive policy, while not a vacating and removal of your criminal conviction, the hardships you endured with a decade old or more non-violent felony can be sealed from eyes of employers and the public providing you with a path to the redemption you have waited so long to embrace.
“Violence” and “violent” are both ugly words. In the New York Penal Law and New York Criminal Procedure Law, offenses that can cause catastrophic injuries, traumatic physical and emotional wounds and even death are designated as violent crimes. While each one of us may have a subjective view of what violent means in the context our respective lives, New York Criminal Procedure Law 70.02 specifically defines and differentiates New York violent crimes from all other offenses. The relevancy as to what is a violent crime and what is an “ordinary” offense is critical to any criminal case as well as to how a criminal defense attorney manages his representation of a client. As a preliminary matter, sentencing for violent crimes differ from other offenses and for those who want to pursue the sealing of their criminal record for up to two convictions in accordance with New York Criminal Procedure Law 160.59, any violent offense precludes such a remedy.
Whether you want to lead off with the good or the bad, the fact remains that when you are looking to either expunge or seal your criminal convictions from your record in New York, the reality is exactly the same. The good news is that while sealing a violation and non-criminal plea or conviction has always been available, neither the expungement or sealing of criminal convictions were attainable to anyone with a criminal record in the State of New York. Fortunately, some, but not all of that, has changed with the passage of New York Criminal Procedure Law 160.59. While your sealing attorney can likely provide more insight into the differences and benefits of expungement and sealing, the former is not the type of relief that New York courts offer. Despite this, New York’s conviction sealing statute and law is beyond valuable to any person hoping to minimize the exposure of their criminal history and prevent most private and public employers and agencies from finding their old arrest.