New York: How to Seal Your Prior Convictions

Under the recently enacted New York’s Criminal Procedure Law Section 160.59, an individual is able to petition the Court for sealing of prior convictions. By passing this law, the legislature has created a path for removal of stigma associated with a criminal conviction where an individual has objectively demonstrated his or her commitment to living a law-abiding lifestyle through rehabilitation and successful completion of a court-imposed sentence.

By sealing arrest information gives people a genuine second chance, thereby decreasing recidivism rates and enhancing public safety. If the Court approves the application for sealing, the convictions would only be visible to law enforcement agencies, including immigration if you are not a United States Citizen.

Requirements for New York Sealing of Prior Convictions Under CPL 160.59

In order to be eligible for sealing, you must meet the following requirements:

  1. No convictions or pending cases for at least 10 years prior to your application; AND
  2. Have two or less convictions on your criminal record. You can apply to seal up to two misdemeanors or a misdemeanor and a felony; AND
  3. Your offenses must be eligible for sealing – sex offenses, violent felonies and serious felonies are not eligible for sealing.

It is important to consult an experienced attorney regarding your sealing application, as the application needs many supporting documents. Your attorney will need to obtain a certificate of disposition for each and every conviction you are applying to get sealed to confirm that the conviction is eligible for sealing.

Factors Courts Consider Before Deciding to Grant a Sealing of Prior Convictions Application

When considering applications for sealing pursuant to CPL §160.59, the judge shall consider any relevant factors including, but not limited to:

  1. The amount of time that has elapsed since your last conviction; AND
  2. The circumstances and the seriousness of the offense for which you are seeking relief, including whether or not the arrest charge was not an eligible offense; AND
  3. The circumstances and the seriousness of any other offenses for you have been convicted; AND
  4. Your character, including any measures that you have taken toward rehabilitation, such as participating in treatment programs, work, or schooling, and participating in community service or other volunteer programs; AND
  5. Any statements made by the victim of the offense for which the you are seeking relief; AND
  6. The impact of sealing your criminal record upon your rehabilitation and upon your successful and productive reentry and reintegration into society; AND
  7. The impact of sealing your record on public safety and upon the public’s confidence in and respect for the law.

Why Hire An Attorney to Assist with New York Sealing of Prior Convictions Application?

Our attorneys have experience successfully competing numerous sealing applications. We will work with you on putting together a persuasive application – one that shows your proof of rehabilitation – including letters of support from your family, friends, teachers, professors, employers, religious leaders and charity and volunteer organizations. These individuals know you best and can speak to your personal characteristics and explain to the judge why you are deserving of the sealing and how your life will improve if potential employers were unable to access your criminal record.

We will also obtain your educational transcripts, verification of employment and community service, certificate of relief from civil disabilities if one was obtained as well as proof of completion of any drug or alcohol program. The goal is to present the Judge with the most comprehensive version of who you are as a person today and why you are deserving of sealing your convictions so they do not impact your life and job prospects.

Contact Top Rated New York Criminal Defense Attorneys

If you have a prior conviction that you would like to seal, please call us at 212-729-9494 or contact us to schedule a consultation to see if your conviction qualifies. It is important to get the application for sealing of prior convictions right with the first application.