Expungement and Sealing Procedures
A common misconception of the New York criminal justice system – and that of the criminal justice system as a whole – is that once the imposed sentence has been served and fines paid the ordeal is over and life can resume much as it did before. Unfortunately, not every satisfied sentence comes replete with meaningful second chances. Since arrests and judgments of conviction are a part of the public record, a conviction for a New York misdemeanor or felony offense can and often does have an undesirable ripple effect on employment, housing and immigrations status. Additionally, the criminal justice system – like society as a whole – treats those with criminal convictions much differently than those without, with the most significant example being longer jail sentences for repeat offenders. In sum, the adverse effects of a criminal conviction on both liberty and civil rights survive long after successful service of the sentence. Hiring a top New York criminal defense attorney, as early as arrest, to work towards a hopeful dismissal or a settlement of the charges with the state as a non-criminal disposition should always be the first choice.
For those with existing prior misdemeanors or felony convictions, contacting one of our top New York expungement lawyers is a prudent first step in determining whether you may be eligible for relief from the societal and employment consequences of your criminal record. New York’s legislature has passed a series of laws that allow, in limited circumstances, persons with prior criminal convictions to have their record sealed through an order of conditional sealing by the court. Alternatively, a Certificate of Relief from Disabilities and Forfeitures or Certificate of Good Conduct may lift some of the most burdensome civil restrictions set after conviction, including statutory bars on employment and loss of driving privileges.
Whichever you may think you qualify for, retaining top New York expungement and sealing lawyers for the application process may not just be preferable but necessary for relief from a prior criminal conviction. The New York Legislature has required applicants for either an order to seal a criminal record or certificate of relief to undergo an extensive vetting process which may include a formal hearing before the court or parole board. And without retained counsel, you will be on your own to support your application if relief is contested, which it often is, by the state.
With your livelihood at stake, please don’t make the mistake of filing these applications alone. Top New York expungement and sealing lawyers are available at the Law Offices of Jeffrey Lichtman. A favorable outcome in any application for relief from the collateral consequences of a state and even federal conviction may turn on their help.
Some more detailed information on the most common forms of relief from the collateral consequences of conviction may be found in the articles below: