Have you or a loved one ever been convicted of a crime in New York State? While a criminal proceeding ends with the sentencing, the ramifications of a criminal conviction can have a rippling effect on life moving forward. Some of these consequences include having your rights taken away, disqualifications that may impact your current or future employment, impacts to government benefits, and more.
New York State recently passed a law allowing the sealing of criminal records. Before this law was enacted, if you or a loved one had a criminal conviction on your record it would remain there for life, as well as show up on any civil background check. With this new sealing law, many prior criminal convictions, both misdemeanor and felony convictions, are eligible to have the records sealed. This means that with a sealed record, while the prior conviction will still exist, it will not be made available to the public and will not show up on a civil background check. If you or a loved one have a sealed record, you can answer “no” on a job application or elsewhere when asked if you have ever been convicted of a crime.
The “Second Chance” law permits two eligible offenses to be sealed, but not more than one eligible felony offense. There are many convictions that are eligible for record sealing, including disorderly conduct, trespassing, and DWI among many others. In order to qualify to have your record sealed, the conviction must be at least 10 years old and you cannot have any pending charges or other criminal convictions within the previous 10 years. If you or a loved one have more than two convictions you would not be eligible to apply to have your record sealed.
When signing the record sealing provision into law, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo said, “Law-abiding New Yorkers should not be forever branded with the stigma of a non-violent criminal conviction when they have turned their lives around.” At The Law Offices of Michael H. Ricca, we agree with this and we continuously fight for the rights of our clients to better their lives and move forward from a crime that happened many years ago when they were a different person.
It is important to note that if you or a loved one commit a new crime, your previous sealed conviction can be viewed by law enforcement and considered in sentencing for the new conviction.
Once it is determined that you or a loved one qualifies to have a record sealed, there is a legal process that you must go through in order to have the record sealed. An application needs to be completed with the assistance of an attorney who may need to appear before a judge to ensure success. If you think you are eligible to have your record sealed or that of a loved one or are not sure if you are eligible, contact our attorneys at (516) 500-1647 or on our website for your free telephone consultation.