NEW YORK RECORD SEALING APPLICATION PROCESS
- posted: Apr. 04, 2023
By Goldman & Associates | April 19, 2019
If you have just one conviction, your sealing application must be brought before the judge that sentenced you on that conviction, assuming that the judge is still sitting on the bench in that jurisdiction. If she is not, it will be decided by a different judge sitting in that jurisdiction.
If you are looking to seal 2 convictions, your sealing application must be brought before the court where you were sentenced on the more serious of the offenses you want to be sealed. If the two offenses are equally serious under the law, the court that sentenced you more recently has jurisdiction.
You will be required to fill out a sealing form provided by the Office of Court Administration and sign that form before a notary public.
Your sealing form must be accompanied by supporting documentation, including a Certificate of Disposition as to each offense you are seeking to seal.
Your form must also be accompanied by a signed and notarized statement listing all the reasons that the court should grant your application. This is your opportunity to speak about the barriers you’re facing because of your conviction, all of the good things you’ve done with your life since your conviction, and why you deserve an opportunity for a clean slate. This is the most important portion of your application and is the most likely to make the difference between success and failure.
Our experienced attorneys can help you craft your application materials to give you the best chance to have it granted.
You must “serve” the court and the District Attorney’s office with a copy of your sealing application. That means formally providing them with a copy of your application materials.
The District Attorney’s office then has 45 days to decide whether it wants to object to your sealing application. If the District Attorney’s office does file an objection, the Court may order a hearing to hear evidence as to why, or why not, your conviction should be sealed.
In this kind of adversarial hearing, having an experienced lawyer in your corner can make the difference between success and failure.
FACTORS CONSIDERED BY THE COURT IN DECIDING YOUR SEALING APPLICATION
New York courts have a lot of discretion in what factors they consider in deciding your sealing application, but the sealing law lays out some of the factors that should inform the court’s determination:
- The date of your previous conviction – The longer you’ve stayed out of legal trouble, the greater your chance of getting your criminal record sealed.
- The seriousness of the crime and the circumstances of your case – If the offense you’re seeking to seal is serious in nature, the court will be less likely to agree to seal your case. Violent felonies and most sex-related charges are not eligible for sealing.
- The seriousness and circumstances of other charges – In addition to reviewing the charge(s) you want to seal; the court may also consider previous convictions in your criminal history.
- Your overall character – Evidence that you entered rehab or a treatment program, got a job, enrolled in school, or participated in volunteer opportunities or community service can speak in your favor.
- Victim statements – If your offense harmed other individuals, the court will take their statements into consideration.
- How record sealing will affect your life – The court will take into account how your conviction has made your life difficult, and how sealing can help you overcome those obstacles.
- How record sealing will affect public safety – The court will consider the effects sealing may have on public safety and the community’s faith in the criminal justice system.
In addition to the factors listed above, the court is also permitted to review the original court documents related to your case and your criminal history.
If the court grants sealing in your case, The Law Offices of Goldman & Associates will obtain an official copy of the court’s Sealing Order for your records
CONSEQUENCES OF SEALING
If the court grants your motion for sealing, all court documents related to your arrest, prosecution, and conviction are sealed and removed from the public record, made unavailable to any person or public or private agency.
There are some exceptions:
- The records remain available to “eligible agencies” including:
the courts, the Department of Corrections, and other law enforcement agencies for “law enforcement purposes,” the office of professional medical conduct, state entities responsible for issuing firearm licenses, law enforcement agencies conducting background checks for hiring purposes, child protective services, and the FBI for the purpose of firearms background checks.
- Fingerprint and DNA databases remain unaffected.
- Sealed convictions remain “convictions” for the purpose of criminal laws based on the accused having a prior conviction
The New York State Human Rights Law prohibits public or private employers or occupational licensing agencies from asking about, or taking adverse action (i.e. denying employment or licensure) because of a sealed conviction.
If you are interested in sealing your criminal record in New York City, contact The Law Offices of Goldman & Associates today at (718) 538-5743 and schedule a free consultation to determine if you are eligible.
We cannot guarantee that any particular case will result in sealing.
There is no guarantee of confidentiality in materials submitted for sealing. An application for sealing is considered a continuation of a criminal case, and the same confidentiality rules apply. Your application and underlying case are sealed only if your application is granted. Otherwise, materials submitted to the court in support of your sealing application become part of the public record associated with your case.
The statute does not set any particular timeline for the court to decide your application.