Having a criminal conviction in your past can have a dramatic impact on the rest of your life (even after you have served your debt to society). It can deter you from getting a job and even housing, not to mention the damage it may do to your reputation. Often, people in your situation may seek to have their records expunged. Is that an option for you?
Unfortunately, according to the New York State Unified Court System, New York has no process in place that allow criminal records to be expunged. You can, however, petition to have your case record sealed. What this means is that all information and evidence relevant to your case will either be returned to you or destroyed. This includes:
- Fingerprint records
- Palm print cards
- Booking photos
- DNA samples
Technically, your record still exists. However, police, prosecutor and criminal justice department records are not available to the general public, so the chances of your information remaining sealed is likely to be high. The only people who can see sealed records (other than law enforcement officers and officers of the court) are yourself, whomever you may authorize to do so, and an employer in cases where you applying for a job that requires you to carry a firearm.
You should know, however, that only certain cases qualify to have records sealed. Felony and misdemeanor convictions can only be sealed if they were committed while under the influence of controlled substances. Yet if you were convicted of crime as a child or a juvenile, those records can be sealed. The same is true if you were convicted of a traffic infraction, or your case resulted in an acquittal or other good result.