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New York’s Record Sealing Law Can Change Lives


In a story recently covered by Queens News and Community, one Queens resident described her anticipation for the ‘clean slate’ she hopes New York’s new record sealing law will provide after getting in trouble with the law once while she was in high school.

The episode sadly altered the course of her life. After attempting to sell drugs at a local bar while a minor, she was charged with a felony and a jail sentence. Soon after, in attending college, she found out that she could not become a nurse or teacher because her felony conviction barred her from doing so.

Previously Blocked From Having a Career

Sadly, whenever she disclosed her prior felony conviction, she was continually told that the teaching field was not appropriate for her, and she shouldn’t even bother to get involved in nursing. This is because, prior to now, New York made it impossible for those with felony convictions to expunge or seal their records. As a result, a criminal conviction would remain on someone’s record for life and appear in every single civil background check, making it impossible for anyone to have a shot at redemption.

Closed Doors Lead To More Trouble

There is no question that, in addition to the prison time, fines, forfeiture of assets, probation, and restitution, there are continuous, additional collateral consequences for those who have already done their time, blocking them from education, employment, housing, school loans, and so many other important opportunities necessary for getting by in life. As a result, many have a difficult time seeing any kind of future at all for themselves, and suffer from a lack of self-esteem and problems in their relationships as well. In fact, just walking into a job interview can be a terrorizing experience.

Even some who are retired and are no longer experiencing deleterious effects on their careers sometimes apply to have their records sealed for their own peace of mind.

New York’s Criminal Record Sealing Law

Fortunately, in late 2017, New York’s Criminal Procedural Law (CPL) Section 160.59 went into effect, allowing individuals convicted of certain non-violent crimes convicted 10 or more years ago to have their records sealed. Specifically, anyone classified as a predicate felon, sex offender, or violent criminal is not eligible to apply, and there must have been at least 10 years between the last conviction; with no new conviction during those 10 years. The opportunity is also limited to individuals who have one felony conviction, one felony plus one misdemeanor conviction, or two misdemeanor convictions.

New York City Criminal Record Sealing Lawyers

There has never been a better time to have your criminal record sealed. Contact the New York City-based office of Levy & Rizzo, LLC, The Clean Slate Attorneys to find out how we can help.


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