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Expungement FAQ

Answers About New York Criminal Record Sealing

Having an arrest or conviction on your criminal record can present many difficulties in your life. Fortunately, you can seek relief by applying for an expungement. At the Law Offices of Iannuzzi and Iannuzzi, we’re here to help you understand the process of criminal record sealing and how it can benefit you.

Below are answers to frequently asked questions about expungement, but feel free to contact us at (646) 956-2660 for more information.

What Is an Expungement?

An expungement is a process by which a person can have their criminal record sealed. If a judge grants the request, the person’s arrest, prosecution, and conviction records are erased, and most public and private agencies cannot access them. Only in limited circumstances may such information be released to qualified legal authorities.

What Does It Mean to Have Your Criminal Record Expunged?

When your criminal record is sealed, it’s not accessible to the public. This means that any information concerning your arrest or conviction will not show up on background checks. If your criminal record is expunged, you can also legally say that you have never been convicted of a crime unless you're arrested again.

How Long Do Arrests Stay on Your Record in New York?

Your New York arrest record, if your case ended in a conviction, will remain forever unless you take action to have it expunged.

How Long Do Misdemeanors Stay on Your Record in New York?

In New York, a misdemeanor conviction stays on your record forever. To have it removed, you must seek an expungement.

Are Criminal Records Public in New York?

Yes. They weren’t before. But now, a person can obtain the record of another individual by applying to a public agency. Often, employers and landlords make inquiries to determine whether candidates have criminal records.

Do Expunged Criminal Records Show Up on Background Checks?

By definition of expungement, criminal records are sealed and only made available in limited circumstances. For the most part, the offense will not show up on a background check.

Once your record is sealed, it’s released only to:

  • Qualified agencies, such as law enforcement agencies carrying out official business
  • Gun licensing agencies
  • Law enforcement agencies in relation to an employment application
  • The FBI for firearm background checks

Can You Pass a Background Check with an Expungement?

If your New York criminal record is expunged, it should be non-existent, which means you may generally pass a background check.

How Can an Expungement Help Me?

If you’re arrested for or convicted of a crime, the public can access information about your case. Thus, if a potential employer, landlord, or any member of your community does a search on you, they will have access to your criminal record. Unfortunately, your past mistakes may impact your future opportunities, as important decisions – such as whether or not you’re hired for a job – can be influenced by what’s on your record.

An expungement can help you by restoring your status as it existed before your conviction. It removes information relating to the offense. Essentially, it takes away the stigma of having a criminal record, thereby permitting you to more freely seek employment and housing. You can live in the world without the disability or even the fear of being considered a criminal or having a criminal record.

Do I Need to Have My Criminal Record Expunged in New York?

You’re not required to have your New York arrest or conviction records expunged. However, if you don’t take action, the information pertaining to your case can follow you for the rest of your life, presenting various hurdles and affecting your opportunities to become a productive member of society.

Can You Have Your Record Expunged in New York? If So, What Crimes Can Be Expunged?

If you have a New York arrest or conviction record, you can seek to have it expunged.

Any offense is eligible for sealing except:

  • Sex offenses as defined in PL Article 130,
  • Homicide offenses as defined in PL Article PL 125,
  • Violent felonies as defined in PL 70.02,
  • Class A felonies as defined in PL Article 105, or
  • An attempt to commit any ineligible crime (if it was a felony).

For a complete list of crimes that cannot be expunged, see the New York Criminal Record Sealing Application.

A judge can deny your application for expungement if you:

  • Haven’t waited the specified amount of time to seek relief (10 years after your conviction or completion of your sentence, including probation),
  • Are required to register as a sex offender,
  • Have already sealed the maximum number of convictions allowed (2 eligible offenses and not more than 1 felony),
  • Have a pending criminal charge,
  • Were convicted of another offense after being convicted of the crime you’re seeking expungement for,
  • Were convicted of more than 2 crimes (misdemeanors or felonies), or
  • Were convicted of more than 1 felony.

Do I Have to Appear in Court for an Expungement?

Although a hearing may be scheduled before the judge decides whether or not to grant your expungement, you usually do not have to appear in court.

We’ve covered quite a bit of information about criminal record sealing in New York, but we know each case is different, and you may have questions about your particular situation. Our expungement lawyers at the Law Offices of Iannuzzi and Iannuzzi are ready and available to guide you.

Call us at (646) 956-2660 or contact us online today.

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