5 Things to Know About Sealing Criminal Records in New York

A criminal background formA criminal record of an arrest or conviction can create several consequences. For instance, your rap sheet can adversely affect your employment, as well as your housing or immigration status. Luckily, you may be able to “seal” your criminal history and make it invisible to the public.

Here are five of the most important things you should know about criminal record sealing in New York:

What is criminal record sealing?

Instead of erasing criminal records, New York laws allow the sealing of appropriate cases. Sealed records still exist, but they are concealed from the public. Related booking photos, fingerprint cards, and other associated items are either destroyed or returned to you.

Are cases closed or sealed automatically?

Some records are sealed without the affected person having to do anything. Such cases include crimes committed by juvenile delinquents, juvenile offenders, and youthful offenders. Your criminal records will also be automatically sealed if you got a good result in the criminal case or your case was a violation or traffic infraction. Good results include dismissal, acquittal, and decline prosecution.

Which criminal records can be sealed upon request?

A wide array of criminal convictions are eligible for sealing if certain conditions are met and several factors are found in the offender’s favor. Sealable cases include various drug-related misdemeanors and felonies. A criminal record sealing attorney in New York can advise you about eligible convictions and help you convince the judge.

Can “sealed” records appear on a criminal records search?

Sealed criminal records are not listed. However, mistakes may happen and a record that’s supposed to be closed and sealed might appear in your criminal history search. If that happens, you can ask to correct the mistake.

Who can access your sealed records?

You and official personnel are the only parties who can access or get your sealed criminal records. Credit reporting agencies and employers can’t see these records.

Arrest and conviction come with direct punishment and indirect consequences. Even small misdemeanor convictions can create severe downstream issues. Criminal record sealing can provide you with a fresh start after an unfortunate legal incident.