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Sealing Your Criminal Record in Westchester County, New York

Though the term “expungement” is commonly used to describe the wiping away a person’s criminal record, this is not possible in the State of New York. Instead, those with criminal convictions can seal their records to remove fingerprints and photographs while only allowing limited access by those who need to know.

This means it will be impossible for employers, creditors, and credit reporting agencies to know you were convicted of all but the most serious of crimes. At the Law Office of Michael D. Litman, our criminal defense lawyer understands the procedures and nuances of sealing criminal records. We can help.

Call us now or contact our firm online to schedule your free consultation and learn more about how to protect your reputation.

What Crimes Can Be Sealed?

You can seal juvenile delinquencies or acts that would be criminal convictions if you were over the age of 16. However, if you were more than 13 years old and were tried as a “juvenile offender” for a serious crime, the record is treated as if you were an adult.

Non-criminal violation offenses, such as loitering or trespassing, can be sealed. So can certain low-level possession of marijuana cases. Since October 2009, judges are allowed to conditionally seal felonies and misdemeanors under New York CPL §160.55 in very limited circumstances.

You will need to have all the following for this to occur:

  • Completed a court-mandated alcohol or drug treatment program

  • Completed any other sentence imposed following the completion of treatment

  • No pending charges

If your records are sealed, the people who can see them will include:

  • Your employer, if you want to work as a law enforcement or a peace officer, or work in any job where you must carry a gun

  • Your parole or probation officer if you are arrested while on parole or probation

  • Prosecutors and other law enforcement officials, only through court order if a judge is convinced they should have it “in the interests of justice”

  • Any agency you apply to for a gun license

  • The military should you enlist

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What Crimes Can’t Be Sealed?

Sealing is not available for more serious crimes.

These include:

  • Loitering with the intent to engage in deviant sexual activity

  • Prostitution

  • Driving while impaired

  • Violent crimes

  • Any offense where a court order is in place to prevent the sealing

Youthful offenders (age 16-18) are eligible for record sealing only once their cases are adjudicated. While these records will be sealed, they are still available to the institution where the juvenile was committed, the parole office, the probation department, and the state registry of orders of protection.

Law enforcement and prosecutors may also view them, but only if they obtain a court order by persuading a judge it is in the interest of justice.

How the Law Office of Michael D. Litman Can Help

The best chance you have at sealing your records is to make a plea bargain for your case in a way that it can later be sealed in court. In some cases, you may be able to seal your record after your court case.

Many documents to support your motion should accompany the motion, such as:

  • Documents surrounding your case and arrest details

  • Proof of completion of any required rehabilitation program

  • A Certificate of Relief From Disabilities

  • A Certificate of Good Conduct

  • Other documents or references to support your motion

Filing such a motion successfully could take several months. Once this is complete, the clerk will inform you and the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services of the court’s ruling, and your records will be sealed.

If the court challenges your petition, you and your attorney will have to provide more information, go to court, and offer proof—including possible witnesses—that your records should be sealed.

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Getting a record sealed involves meeting very specific court requirements and convincing multiple agencies to support your request. Even if the process is relatively straightforward, each petition for sealing is different. For those looking to clean up their criminal record, the Law Office of Michael D. Litman can guide you through the process, provide important insights into your case, and anticipate its potential pitfalls.

Get started today by calling us.