Having a criminal record is not good. Even if you only committed a minor offense, such as shoplifting, you have a permanent black mark on your public record. This can affect your chances of finding a job, getting a loan, or qualifying for affordable housing.
Unfortunately, New York does not allow expungement. If you committed a crime in New York, the next best thing is to seal the records. NY Sealing Law notes that sealing the record is almost as good as expunging it because it is no longer public record. You also do not have to tell employers about it. Here is how to expunge criminal record in New York.
Before October 2017, New York only allowed sealing of juvenile and minor crimes, such as trespassing, and crimes that did not end in a conviction. Felonies and other serious crimes are not seal-able. However, New York passed a new law that now allows more crimes to be seal-able. You can seal up to two crimes, one of which can be a felony. Sex offenses and violent crimes are not included. You have to wait ten years before you can seal the records, though.
The first thing you have to do is consult with a criminal lawyer. The expungement laws of New York are complicated. A lawyer can explain them to you. For example, you may have two or more convictions that were part of one action, so the law considers it as one conviction. Your lawyer will also advise you on what crimes are eligible for sealing and special cases that may apply to you. Finally, it is better if your lawyer drafts your sworn statement to convince the court to grant the seal order.
The application for sealing a record is simple. You have to go to the court where you received your conviction. Then, get a copy of your criminal record and an official disposition slip. Mail the slip together with your sworn statement of reason for sealing the record to the Division of Criminal Justice Services Sealed Records. If approved, you should have your records sealed in about 12 weeks.
Sealing or expunging a criminal record in New York has important consequences for you. If your criminal record is seal-able, you should do it as soon as possible with the help of a criminal lawyer.