Capital Region Legal News

Monday, February 13, 2017

How can I get my New York criminal charges expunged?

Many individuals who have made mistakes in the past and are working to move on may still be haunted by prior convictions. Television and well-meaning friends and relatives usually bring up the topic of expungement as a means to vanquish past offenses. Unfortunately, if you were convicted of a crime in New York, expungement, or record destruction, is not an option. There are other options however, your criminal defense lawyer should be able to provide you with information on what you can do.

Sealing New York Criminal Records

While expunging your criminal records is not an option, record sealing may be. When criminal records are sealed, they continue to exist, but they are not available for review by the general public.  The records will still be available for review by:

  • Law enforcement agencies
  • Firearm licensing agencies
  • Prospective employers for jobs requiring that you carry a firearm
  • Child care agencies
  • Hospitals
  • Schools
  • Companies hiring school bus drivers

If your records are sealed, you do not have to disclose the offense on employment applications and you may become eligible for student loans, housing assistance and voting.

Are You a Candidate for Record Sealing?

Record sealing is only an option for certain offenses, such as traffic infraction convictions, non-felony or non-misdemeanor violations and certain drug-related convictions after completion of a drug treatment program.  Crimes that are not sealable include convictions for:

  • Felonies
  • Misdemeanors
  • Driving While Ability Impaired
  • Driving Under the Influence

If you were charged with any of the above crimes, but had a verdict in your favor, those records may be sealed.  The process is not automatic for the sealing of any records. You must file paperwork with the courts.

It is important to note that if you are successful in having your records sealed, they may become unsealed if you are convicted of another crime.

What if my records cannot be sealed?

For individuals that have convictions that are ineligible for sealing, there is another option. You may file for a Certificate of Relief from Disabilities or a Certificate of Good Conduct. These certificates can help lift certain employment restrictions and licensing restrictions that may be standing in your way of gainful employment.  While the certificated do not guarantee that you will be hired for otherwise restricted jobs, you do have the right to be considered for the job.

Additionally, if you do receive a certificate, you must still disclose the convictions on employment applications if asked.

Not Sure What To Do About Prior Convictions?

If you wish to erase your prior convictions so that you can obtain a better job or student loan assistance, talk with an experienced New York criminal attorney. The attorneys at Ianniello Anderson, P.C. can quickly assess your case and assist you in making the best possible decisions under the circumstances. Serving clients in the Albany, Clifton Park, Glens Falls, Saratoga Springs, Troy, and the entire Northeastern NY areas at 518.350.7755.

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