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Sealing & Expungement

New York Sealing Attorneys Westchester Expungement Attorneys

New York's new sealing law, Criminal Procedure Law 160.59 has taken effect and has transformed New York law for those with old criminal convictions who can now have both felonies and misdemeanors permanently sealed. CPL 160.59 permits the Court to seal up to two criminal convictions including up to one felony and one misdemeanor.

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While in New York expungement is not completely possible the new sealing statute makes it possible to apply to seal convictions that are at least 10 years old. While sealing under CPL 160.59 will not protect you from having your sentence enhanced if you get rearrested and it may not help you get a gun license, it is a powerful tool for those who are being hampered by old criminal convictions.

Not All Charges Qualify to be Sealed

Under CPL §160.59 certain charges cannot be sealed. Generally convictions for sex offenses, violent felonies that are defined in the New York penal law or attempts or conspiracy to commit those crimes are not eligible for sealing under the New York Criminal Procedure Law

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Serious offenses including felonies, DWI, drug cases, most misdemeanors and even some robbery and burglary charges qualify for sealing.

Applications for sealing must be made in the Court where the more serious of the convictions occurred but if they are of the same category of seriousness then in the Court where the more recent conviction occurred. In other words, no forum shopping, you must apply in the correct Court and the application is supposed to be heard by the sentencing judge (if he or she is still around).

In addition, applications must contain certain specific information required by statute, including the reasons why, in the Court's discretion, the Court should grant the application for sealing. The application must also include certificates of conviction for the crimes that the applicant is seeking to seal and must be served on the appropriate prosecutors. Prosecutors will have 45 days to notify the Court about whether they will oppose the application and several prosecutors have already announced that they will not routinely oppose such applications.

If the application is not opposed and is otherwise sufficient and in compliance with CPL 160.59 (3) is should be summarily granted. If it is opposed by the prosecutor, the Court must hold a hearing (assuming the application is legally sufficient).

What is The Effect of Sealing on a Person's Record

New York Executive Law §296 entitled "Unlawful Discriminatory Practices" give extraordinary rights to those whose convictions are sealed under CPL §160.59 (and §160.50, §160.55 and §160.58).

For example those who have convictions that are sealed under 160.59 have the right pursuant to Executive Law 296 (16) not to disclose information about the arrest or the sealed case and prospective employers or licensing authorities (other than gun licensing authorities) may not inquire about sealed cases or use any such information in making decisions regarding employment, granting of credit or licensing.

Sealing an old criminal conviction can be life altering and can gain new opportunities for employment and licensing for those with a criminal record.

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