Can I Have My Criminal Record Sealed in New York?

While the record of a New York misdemeanor or felony conviction can never be expunged or destroyed, an Order of Conditional Sealing can have substantively the same effect by hiding it from public view. As all New York sealing lawyers know, an order of Conditional Sealing under section 160.58 of the New York Criminal Procedure Law provides the most substantial relief available under New York law for the employment consequences of a misdemeanor or felony conviction. Like expunged records, conditionally sealed records of arrest and conviction are inaccessible to most employer background checks and private searches of criminal records. Unlike expungement, however, the records of conviction and arrest held under seal are not destroyed. Rather, they are kept in the possession of the court and subject to inspection by law enforcement. CPL § 160.58 (6)(b). Additionally, since the sealing for a misdemeanor or felony offense is always conditional, any later arrest for any offense will result in the records of the former being “unsealed immediately” at arraignment on the new charges. CPL § 160.58 (8). Nevertheless, in New York where full expungement is not an option, the advantages of receiving an order of conditional seal cannot be overstated: it is the only form of relief that will enable prior misdemeanor or felony convictions to be lawfully denied on most, if not all, applications for employment within the state.

Unfortunately, as any top New York sealing lawyer should know, this form of relief is not available as a matter of right and eligibility, under the law, is limited. Only certain drug offenses and non-violent crimes qualify and only then where there has been satisfactory completion – in the eyes of the judge – of a qualifying drug treatment or substance rehabilitation program. In other words, in order to seal records of a New York misdemeanor or felony conviction, a judge needs to be persuaded that sealing is available as a matter of law and should be issued as an exercise of its discretion in light of your proven efforts to overcome substance abuse and/or alcohol dependency after conviction.

If you have been previously convicted of a drug offense or have recently completed a court-sanctioned or Department of Corrections-supervised rehabilitation or drug treatment program, consider speaking with a top New York sealing lawyer about whether an order sealing your criminal record is obtainable. Even if you believe you may not qualify for this type of sealing order, consult with top New York sealing attorneys who are well-versed in the alternative forms of post-conviction relief available in New York. The attorneys at the Law Offices of Jeffrey Lichtman will appraise your case and advocate for a course of action that provides the likeliest chance for real and meaningful relief from the adverse employment consequences of a criminal conviction. Whether that is petitioning the sentencing court for an order to conditionally seal a prior drug offense or applying to the parole board for a Certificate of Good Conduct or Certificate of Relief from Disabilities, better your chances for success through the assistance of one of our top New York sealing attorneys.

Certificates of Relief from Disabilities and Certificates of Good Conduct are an alternate and more widely available form of relief from the collateral consequences of a conviction than an order to conditionally seal records. Information on eligibility requirements and the benefits they can provide when arrest and conviction records of a past case cannot be sealed may be found in the article linked below: