Prostitution Crimes in New York: Can Solicitation, Patronizing and Prostitution Convictions be Sealed and Expunged

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.

Clearly, a conviction for anything involving the sex trade is a Scarlet Letter and blemish of extreme proportions. I need not tell you that. Your conviction has likely haunted you and followed you through every job application and employment opportunity in less than a beneficial way. Fortunately, with Criminal Procedure Law 160.59, assuming that you currently do not have any criminal case pending before any court, your conviction for Prostitution or Patronizing a Prostitute is beyond ten years old (less time for incarceration), you are seeking to sealing of no more than two misdemeanor criminal convictions or one misdemeanor and felony, you are likely eligible for this tremendous and unparalleled benefit.

What is this benefit? Upon filing a motion with the court of your sentencing and providing such information as to why you should receive the sealing, how this betters both you and society, what you have been doing since your conviction, information about the case for which you were convicted, and many other relevant materials, your sentencing judge or court will turn to prosecutors to allow them an equal opportunity to be heard. If the District Attorney wishes to challenge your motion for sealing pursuant to CPL 160.59 and does so withing 45 days of your filing and service upon them, the judge can then have a hearing on the matter. At that time both your New York sealing lawyer and the People (District Attorney) can present evidence supporting their respective positions. The judge, upon conducting the hearing and reviewing the evidence, will then render a decision approving or denying your motion.

As short and concise this blog entry is, a motion for sealing is far more involved and detailed. An application for sealing is not something you you can do in perpetuity. If your judge denies your request the law does not have a provision to continually re-filing to the same judge who denied you until he or she (if is the better statement) changes his or her respective minds. In other words, understanding the sealing process, what is required and retaining counsel best able to secure a seal is something that must be done with the same amount of diligence as the motion itself.

New York Criminal Procedure Law 160.59 provides good people who have a criminal record for prostitution and other misdemeanor and felony crimes an opportunity to prove that the past should stay in the past. Many a mistake mandates punishment, but also the opportunity for relief. Want to get that job you never thought you could? Follow a career path that your conviction kept you from pursuing? Looking forward to holding your head high knowing that your criminal conviction is no readily available to the public or private entities? There is no time like the present.

To read more about New York CPL 160.59, the value of sealing and the means to file a motion pursuing this “expungement” in the public visibility sense as well as crimes involving Prostitution and Patronizing a Prostitute in New York, review this blog and the New York Seal Law section of

The New York sealing lawyers and criminal defense attorneys at Saland Law PC served as prosecutors in the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office prior to establishing the law firm. Saland Law PC represents clients in all sealing matters pursuant to section 160.59 of the New York Criminal Procedure Law from New York City to Buffalo and every municipality in between.


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