What is the Legal Standard to have a Criminal Conviction Sealed in New York and Can My Record be Expunged: NY CPL 160.59

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.

Before diving into the details of New York Criminal Procedure Law 160.59 it is of critical import to recognize that New York’s sealing provision is not a blanket means to cover up a criminal past. CPL 160.59 limits the sealing to a maximum of two crimes of which only one can be a felony unless the offenses and conviction were part of the same criminal transaction. Moreover, certain crimes are not eligible including those that are defined as “violent,” many sex offenses such as those requiring SORA registration, and class “A” felonies. Further, there is a statutory ten year waiting period from the time of conviction or release from prison if the latter is relevant to your particular case. Only a brief review of eligibility, should you be eligible or want to determine whether you are a candidate for the sealing of your New York criminal conviction, more materials are available at New-York-Lawyers.org and from a consultation with our New York criminal conviction sealing lawyers.

Touching on the standard, NY CPL 160.59(7) sets forth the following “guide” that your sentencing judge, County Court Judge or Supreme Court Judge shall consider when determining whether or not to grant sealing:

  • The amount of time that has elapsed subsequent or since your last conviction to the present application.
  • How serious was the offense or crime for which you pleaded or were convicted after trial. What were the circumstances of that case? At bottom, is the offense an eligible one for sealing?
  • What other crimes have you been convicted and what is the seriousness of those offenses? Certainly, there is a difference between a one time offender and a persistent offender.
  • What is your character? Have you attempted to return to or actually work? What is your education? Have you volunteered? Are you a part of your community? If relevant, have you received mental health or substance abuse treatment?
  • Does the victim of your crime, if applicable, have any thoughts in support of or against your motion for sealing?
  • The impact of sealing of your criminal record upon your rehabilitation and upon your successful and productive reentry and reintegration into society.
  • The impact of sealing of your criminal record on public safety. Are you a continuing or a new danger upon the sealing? Moreover, will the sealing of your criminal record shake the public’s confidence in the criminal justice system?

Whether you are eligible for the sealing of your criminal record and, if you are, what convictions can be “expunged” is not a mathematical formula, but one that allows a court to consider much of the above and more. By no means is sealing a guarantee. For that matter, the only guarantee is that a criminal conviction does and will hinder your financial, career and personal growth for decades after you leave the courtroom.

Learn more about CPL 160.59, how it may apply to your criminal past, the means to pursue sealing, eligibility requirements, and legal standards so you can pursue what you likely deserved long ago. Review this blog as well as the Saland Law PC New York Sealing Law information page so you can take the proper steps to a liberated future. Second chances in life are few and far between. Seize this one.

Saland Law PC is a New York criminal defense firm representing clients in CPL 160.59 matters throughout the entire state of New York. The New York criminal lawyers at Saland Law PC represent clients in the New York City region as well in all criminal investigations, arrests, indictments and trials.

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