Albany Record Sealing
Many people with a criminal record want to start anew and put the mistakes of their past behind them. Unfortunately, having a criminal record can be a haunting reminder of your prior mistakes to the point where you are hindered from pursuing a specific career path, securing a great apartment in the area you’ve always dreamed of living in, voting in a presidential or gubernatorial election, and so forth.
Although expungement is not available in New York, sealing of criminal records is.
Fortunately, the New York Legislature passed, and the governor signed into law, a new section of the Criminal Procedure Law, specifically § 160.59, that allows you to seal records of certain types of convictions. Once the sealing order goes into effect, your criminal record will not be viewable by the general public, including most prospective employers and landlords.
Under the new law, an array of crimes are eligible for sealing, including most misdemeanor offenses and many felony convictions. For example, a driving while intoxicated conviction from years ago may be eligible for sealing. However, there are other convictions ineligible for sealing, such as:
- Sex offenses
- Violent felony
- Class A felony
In addition, if you have two or more felony convictions, you will not be able to have both felony convictions sealed. The new law only allows two eligible offenses to be sealed, but not more than one offense can be categorized as a felony. Furthermore, your last conviction must have occurred 10 or more years ago. This means if you were convicted seven years ago, you will not be able to have that conviction sealed under the new law.
Important Steps You Need to Take to Get Your Sealing Application Approved
The new sealing law includes a series of specific steps you need to follow when submitting your sealing application to a court for review and approval. The following includes a brief overview of the preliminary procedures you need to follow:
- Prepare the formal sealing application and include a certificate of disposition for your convictions, along with a sworn statement explaining to the court why you qualify to have your criminal record sealed.
- File the application in the court that sentenced you, either with the judge that handled your criminal case, or with another judge (if your judge is no longer on the bench).
- If you have multiple convictions you are attempting to be sealed, submit the sealing application to the court that handled the more serious offense.
Challenges You May Encounter During the Application Process
In addition to following the procedures set forth above, there are obstacles you may encounter when seeking to have your sealing application approved. For example, you need to provide a copy of your application to the District Attorney’s Office in the county where you were convicted. The DA has 45 days to issue a formal objection to your sealing application. If they object, you will need to prepare for a hearing with the DA and the judge. This can be an intimidating experience, which is why it makes sense to have an attorney on your side during this process. If the DA does not issue an objection, the judge will proceed with reviewing your application and issue a final order.
Albany Criminal Record Sealing Lawyers Here to Help
It is important to comply with all of the statutory requirements to get your sealing application approved. An Albany criminal record sealing lawyer can be of tremendous assistance throughout the process. To learn more, contact Levy & Rizzo, LLC, the Clean Slate Attorneys today for further assistance.