Having convictions follow you on your criminal record can be challenging, especially if it has been a number of years or was a result of a one-time mistake. Even small crimes can affect your chances of obtaining employment or some types of loans.
There are certain crimes which, as of the end of 2017, New York courts now seal. This means the official court and criminal justice records are no longer available for anyone to view except:
- You or someone you choose
- Anyone responsible for approving an application for a weapon license
- Employers for positions related to law enforcement
- Law enforcement or agencies related to law enforcement such as child protective services, District Attorneys and probation departments
What crimes can the courts seal?
Many misdemeanor crimes are eligible for sealing. However, convictions that pose a higher threat to the public are often not eligible, such as violent crimes and many felonies especially class A.
Is the sealed record still visible on background checks and can it be used against me in the future?
Your sealed crime will still show up on official criminal history reports which certain government agencies, law enforcement or agencies who certify weapon licenses can view. The record will not show up on general background checks and will not be available for viewing by individuals or public or private agencies.
If law enforcement arrests you in the future, the court can use your sealed record as needed.
What is the difference between sealing and expungement?
The sealing of your records simply means the court closes your files so only specific individuals may view them in limited circumstances. Having records expunged means the court completely destroys or erases them so no one may know they ever existed. New York does not usually expunge records.
If you are eligible for sealing, it is an excellent way to clear up your record and allow yourself some peace of mind when applying for your next job opportunity.