Expungements and Sealing your Record

C.P.L § 160.59

Don’t you wish you had a magic wand that you could wave and erase your old conviction(s) from your record? An order to seal your record under Criminal Procedure Law section 160.59 is that “magic wand” in the state of New York. Just like a certificate of relief from disabilities or good conduct, an order to seal your record is another form of rehabilitative relief. However, it offers even more benefits to a limited group of people.

Am I Eligible to Apply for a Sealing?

Under C.P.L. § 160.59, you are eligible to ask for your record to be sealed if:

  1. 10 years has passed since the date of your last conviction or release from prison (whichever is later);
  2. You have no more than 2 misdemeanor convictions or 1 felony and 1 misdemeanor on your criminal record;
  3. You do not have an open criminal case;
  4. You were not convicted of an ineligible offense listed under C.P.L. § 160.59(a).
Are All Convictions Eligible to be Sealed?

No, unfortunately there is a long list of criminal offenses that are not eligible to sealed including but not limited to: homicide, violent felonies, Class A felonies, sex offenses, sexual performance by a child, felony level conspiracy cases to commit an ineligible offense, and attempts to commit ineligible offenses if the offense still constitutes a felony. During your consultation with Lavy Law, we will help you to determine whether your conviction is eligible or not.

Can I Apply for a Sealing on my Own, without an Attorney?

You have the right to represent yourself as a pro per, but we would not recommend it. There is no fee to apply, but the process is very burdensome. Therefore, while you may not risk losing money if you apply pro per, you will risk your valuable time and, more importantly, being denied relief.

What is the Process for Sealing?

You would think that after ten (10) years have passed since your conviction or release from prison, your conviction would be automatically erased from your record. Unfortunately, there is a burdensome process that you must follow in order to get the relief that you deserve. And, because it’s not as simple as submitting a form, we recommend you hire an attorney to help you.

  1. Obtain a certificate of disposition for each case you are applying to seal. This is an official court record of your conviction that shows exactly what offense you were convicted of and what you were sentenced.
  2. Obtain an FBI fingerprint check that shows your criminal history report for all fifty states.
  3. Draft a Notice of Motion and Affidavit in Support of Sealing. Your attorney will work with you to obtain supporting documents that provide proof of your rehabilitation such as a certificate of relief from civil disabilities; proof of community service, volunteer or charity work; transcripts from your University or College; letters of good moral character from teachers/professors, employers, and community leaders; verification of employment such as paystubs or tax returns; and, certificates of successful completion of a drug or alcohol treatment program.
  4. Complete and notarize your Motion.
  5. Serve a copy or your Motion on each District Attorney’s Office where your convictions were entered.
  6. File your notarized Motion, and Proof of Service with the Court where your most serious conviction was entered.
  7. Receive a court signed Seal Order
  8. Confirm with NYS Division of Criminal Justice Services that your record has in fact been sealed.
Should I Apply for a Certificate of Relief /Good Conduct or Sealing?

New York offers two different forms of rehabilitative relief: (1) Certificate of relief from disabilities, or Certificate of good conduct, and (2) Order to Seal your Record. You do not need to decide between each form of relief because they offer different benefits. Rather, you can apply for both! We recommend first applying for the Certificate of Relief from Disabilities and then, once granted, applying for an Order to Seal your Record.

What are the Benefits to Sealing my Record?

If you have in fact been rehabilitated and have been crime-free for the last ten (10) years, then you deserve to have your conviction(s) erased. Fortunately, that is the exact benefit that you will get from an Order to Seal. Your conviction(s) will be erased from your criminal record or RAP sheet so that no agency can see them, but for a local, state or federal law enforcement agency.[1]

[1] If you are not a U.S. citizen, the Department of State and Homeland Security can still see your sealed convictions.

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