In New York State, if you meet certain criteria, you can get your criminal records sealed. There is a legal difference between having your record expunged versus having it sealed. According to LawInfo,

While expungement clears a conviction or arrest off of a person's record, sealed records give the appearance that the conviction or arrest has been cleared. In essence, when a person's record is sealed, it means that it's not readily available to the public.

Once your record is sealed, only qualified agencies and law enforcement, including federal, state, and local, can see your record. Immigration agencies can also see your record if you are not a United States citizen.

Keep in mind that New York State has expunged past marijuana convictions, now that adult-use cannabis is legal in the state. That expungement does not count towards your sealing limit.

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Here's How To Get Your Record Sealed In New York

1. You must wait a decade before you can apply to have your record sealed. The 10 years starts at the date of your conviction or release from prison, whichever is the latest.

2. You can't have more than two misdemeanor convictions or one felony and one misdemeanor conviction.

If you have more than 2 convictions, you may still be eligible if your convictions are related to the same one or two incidents. For example, if you were charged and convicted of multiple crimes during one incident, the court may decide to treat the multiple convictions as one conviction.

Even if you meet the number of convictions, certain felonies and offenses are not eligible to be sealed, including sex offenses, violent felonies, and serious felonies.

3. You can't have any new convictions or open criminal cases.

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4. Sealing is not automatic. You'll need to request a Criminal Certificate of Disposition for each conviction you'd like to seal. You'll take the completed forms to a court for processing. There is a $5 fee for non-New York City courts and $10 for courts in the 5 boroughs.

5. You will also need to complete the Sealing Application, which is also known as the Notice of Motion and Affidavit in Support. You'll want to attach any proof of rehabilitation such as community service, educational records, recommendation letter, completion of a drug or alcohol treatment program, or verification of employment.

6. The District Attorney must be notified of your application. You can mail (certified) or hand-deliver a copy of the Certificate of Disposition, the Sealing Application, and any other supporting documents. If your convictions are in different counties, you'll need to provide each D.A. with a copy. After the documents have been mailed or delivered to the D.A., you or whoever delivered them will need to fill out an Affadavit of Service. It will need to be filled out and signed in front of a notary public.

7. File the originals of each document in court (you can find the court locator here).

The papers must be filed in the court where the most serious conviction was entered. If both cases involve convictions of the same class, the motion should be filed in the court where the most recent conviction was entered.

Be sure to make a copy of each document for your own records.

How Do I Know If My New York State Criminal Record Has Been Sealed?

If your sealing application is approved, you will get a court-signed Seal Order. To confirm that your NYS Criminal History Record has been sealed, fill out this Request for Seal Verification form and mail it with a copy of the court signed Seal Order to the NYS Division of Criminal Justice Services (address is on the Request form).

You can find more info here.

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