Dramatic Changes in New York Criminal Conviction Sealing Law Passed By New York State Legislature
We receive many phone calls from individuals in New York with criminal records who wish to have their convictions sealed or expunged. In a huge change of the existing law, the governor recently signed into law (effective October 2017) a change in the criminal sealing law pursuant to Criminal Procedure Law § 160.59 which allows judges to seal up to two eligible convictions, but just one felony. While most offenses are now eligible for sealing, not all are: DWI offense are eligible, but many serious violent felonies including sex offenses, Homicide, Assault and Robbery offenses are not (along with most class A felony convictions).
Two important points: first, individuals convicted of multiple crimes as part of the “same criminal transaction” will be permitted to have all of these eligible offenses sealed as if they were just one offense (CPL § 160.59(1)(a)); and second, any eligible offense may be sealed only after at least 10 years have passed since the imposition of the sentence on the defendant’s latest conviction or, if the defendant received a jail sentence, the defendant’s latest release from incarceration. Finally, an applicant for sealing under the new law cannot have any pending criminal charges. Basically, the new law allows for people who have convictions in their past to get a fresh start in life – but only if they have shown by their behavior over the preceding 10 years that they can be trusted to obey the law.
While New York still does not allow for the expungement of criminal records (the erasing of any trace of the conviction), the new sealing law pursuant to Criminal Procedure Law § 160.59 will allow many individuals with criminal records to not have the stain of a long ago criminal conviction prevent them from getting the great job for which they are otherwise qualified but oftentimes ineligible due to old convictions. Many individuals with extensive but long ago criminal records have given up any hope for the sealing of these convictions – this new change in the law, however, provides the chance to distance themselves from their past and allow them to achieve their goals.
Call a Top New York Sealing Attorney Today to Discuss Your Case
If you have any questions on issues relating to sealing New York convictions or the new sealing law, call the New York sealing attorneys at the Law Offices of Jeffrey Lichtman at (212) 581-1001 to discuss your case today. Our attorneys have over 40 years of experience handling some of the most high profile criminal cases in New York history.
Jeffrey Lichtman has received the highest rating (AV) from the Martindale-Hubbell Legal Directory, is recognized in the Bar Register of Preeminent Lawyers and has also been selected as a New York City Super Lawyer for being a leader in his field of criminal defense. Mr. Lichtman has received a rating of 10.0/10 Superb rating from Avvo Lawyer Directory and was profiled in the New York Daily News, The New York Times as part of the “Public Lives” series, New York Magazine and Ozy. He can be reached at (212) 581-1001.