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Hope For Getting Past Marijuana Convictions Sealed


Many states around the country are not only voting to legalize the use of marijuana, but also to allow people to reduce or erase convictions for marijuana crimes. Many have called it repairing the harm that was done by the “war on drugs.”

New York has had a law in place since 2009 allowing people convicted of certain drug crimes to have their records sealed if they completed court-ordered treatment. However, many people are still unaware of the opportunity and are failing to take advantage of it. This is a shame, as those with criminal records—regardless of whether they involve misdemeanors or felonies—often find it harder to obtain a job and housing.

Getting Records Sealed Erases Stain

For many, this issue is a “no-brainer”: if people have made mistakes in the distant past, they should be able to have their records sealed and have a fresh start. Still, many who have been convicted of possessing a small amount of marijuana are still struggling to overcome the stain it made on their records.

Unfortunately, in some other states, proposals have been stalled by concerns from prosecutors attorneys who have expressed concerns that these measures would let lawbreakers off the hook.

Yet many also still do not understand just how sealing someone’s record by decreasing or erasing penalties for nonviolent drug crimes can truly change a life. Surprisingly, only a small fraction of people with marijuana convictions have actually asked to get their records sealed. For example, in states like California, nearly half a million people have been arrested for marijuana crimes within the last decade, but only approximately 1,500 have applied to reclassify their past crimes.

What If You Have Multiple Convictions?

It could be the concern over “complications;” that stops people from having their records sealed. For example, if someone not only has a conviction for marijuana possession or sale, another misdemeanor or felony.  New York’s law allows people who have not been convicted of a crime in the last 10 years to have up to two prior convictions sealed unless those convictions involved violent felonies and/or sex crimes.

According to the New York Office of Court Administration, there are currently about 300,000 people with a misdemeanor that is 10 years or older. Still, the hesitancy to apply for record sealing may stem from the assumption that it isn’t worth the hassle, if they have another crime on their record (thus why bother to eliminate a minor marijuana conviction).

New York Attorneys Devoted To Drug Record Sealing

Drug arrests make up about one-quarter of all arrests in New York. In addition, felony drug prosecutions result in a conviction and a sentence about 70 percent of the time. It is clear that having a drug conviction on your record is often enough for someone to decide that you are undesirable, whether it involves a job, housing, a loan application, etc.

Take back your life; contact us at Levy & Rizzo, LLC, The Clean Slate Attorneys today to discuss having your New York drug conviction record sealed. We are eager to assist you with your case.


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