Westchester County Record Sealing Attorneys
Sealing a Prior Criminal Record in Westchester County
Eligible convictions can be sealed under New York State Criminal Procedure Law § 160.59. An applicant interested in sealing their record must fit into a certain number of special circumstances, and they must submit their application to the original sentencing court.
Why Seal a Prior Criminal Record in New York?
Having a criminal record can impact your future and limit your ability to take advantage of certain opportunities.
Criminal record sealing can:
- Minimize the negative impact of a criminal conviction in general
- Remove bars to employment
- Prevent loss of housing
- Help protect your professional license or enable you to reapply aftera suspension or revocation
- Clear your name
- Remove the conviction from your record with New York State
As experienced criminal defense attorneys, we have made applications to the Westchester County Court and local criminal courts to seal prior criminal convictions.
In one instance, our client wanted to obtain a permit to carry a firearm. The felony conviction on their record prevented the client from remaining eligible to reapply for a license to carry a firearm. Our Westchester County record sealing lawyers were successful in our application to the Court, and the client’s prior criminal conviction was sealed.
We do not want your past to control your life or hurt your future.
How Do You Know If You Are Eligible to Seal a Prior Criminal Record in NY?
Record sealing is available only to persons who qualify.
Your case must fit into specific criteria:
- You can’t have more than 2 misdemeanors or more than 1 felony and 1 misdemeanor
- You must have been crime-free for the 10 years before applying
The court has the discretion to seal up to 2 convictions, only one of which can be a felony.
Unfortunately, not all convictions can be sealed, meaning certain crimes must remain on your record.
How Do You Seal a Prior Criminal Conviction in New York?
An application must be made to the original sentencing court. To be successful, we do not simply fill out a form and hope for the best. Our attorneys make a formal motion to the Court to comply with the law and go beyond what is required to ensure all our clients have the greatest chance of success.
To make a compelling case to the sentencing court to have a prior criminal conviction sealed, we include the following as part of the motion:
- An official certificate of disposition,
- A sworn statement from our client,
- An updated criminal history report, and
- Any supporting documents.
The local prosecutor’s office can oppose a sealing application. Our record sealing attorneys in Westchester County will contact the local prosecutor’s office to discuss the seal application. During that conference, we argue to the prosecutor that they should support our motion before the court. Advance conversations or meetings help our record sealing attorneys better prepare for court, including preparing any counter-arguments to opposition by the prosecution.
Lastly, legal research for our client’s case and other cases handled by the New York Courts are critical for a proper motion to seal. Our Westchester County record sealing lawyers want to apply the case law of New York State that will support the motion and increase the probability that the motion will be granted.
The courts do not permit multiple applications to seal. It is always better to have an experienced attorney make the application to the court on your behalf for the greatest chance of success. Do not go it alone.
What Factors are Considered in a Record Sealing Application to the Court?
The judge will look at various factors when determining whether to approve a request to seal a conviction.
- The crime to be sealed,
- The seriousness of the offense,
- The victim’s statements
- The applicants’ personal history since the conviction
- Whether the applicant is a productive member of society
- Whether there is any threat to public safety should a seal be granted
- Whether it’s been shown the applicant is of good character to be trusted
What Would Make a Record Ineligible to Be Sealed?
There are several reasons a court might not seal a criminal record.
Some of the most common include:
- The applicant was convicted of a sex offense, registration as a sex offender
- The conviction is a class A felony
- 10 years has not passed
- The applicant has a current open criminal case against them
- The applicant is seeking to seal out-of-state or federal convictions
If My Conviction Cannot Be Sealed, Is There Anything Else You Could Do?
Yes, our attorneys can apply to the sentencing court for an official certificate of relief from civil disabilities. While it is not a seal, it does offer protections and lifts bars to certain employment or serving in a public office.
Is Sealing an Expungement of the Record?
No, sealing does not expunge the records. New York laws do not provide a vehicle to expunge (erase) criminal records (with the exception of some marijuana offenses).
A sealed record still exists. However, anything related to your case, such as fingerprint and palmprint cards, booking photos, and DNA samples, may be returned to you or destroyed.
How Do I Hire a Lawyer to Seal My Conviction?
Call Proto, Sachs & Brown, LLP for a free initial consultation. We will need to know the background details about your case, what conviction you are looking to seal, and why. Our attorneys will explain the process and provide you with a list of the information we need to get started. At the end of the free consultation, we will quote you a fee dependent on the amount of work involved in your case.
Our record sealing lawyers in Westchester County have over 22 years of experience in the Westchester County and local criminal courts. We are published authors in the area of criminal defense in general, DWI defense, and drug crime defense. We are also highly rated by our peers and former clients.
Our main office is located in White Plains, New York, and to better serve our Northern Westchester Clients we maintain an office in Peekskill, New York.