A felony charge in New York is a big deal and can impact your life in many ways. After you pay all legal fines and complete all court-ordered restitution, you may wonder what else you can do to get your rights back.
One option you may have is to get your criminal record sealed. If granted, this improvement will limit public access to your record which may aid in your ability to live your life without the biased judgment of others.
While other states have an expungement process for criminal records, New York has a similarly functioning process called record sealing. According to the New York State Unified Court System, after 10 years of good behavior since your felony charge, you can petition to have your record sealed. A sealed record limits accessibility and removes telling evidence, but does not erase your record.
Evidence including your fingerprints, booking photos, palm-print cards and DNA samples can no longer remain as part of your record. You can request to have these items returned to you or the Department of Criminal Justice may destroy them. Restricted access to your criminal record means that certain parties, such as a potential employer, must request your permission to view your record.
A second chance
Without the constant concern that anyone that meets you will know of your felony, you can work to establish new relationships and regain the trust of those you love. Additionally, you may have an easier and more successful time at having your rights restored including getting approval for public housing, redeeming your eligibility for certain licensures and having fewer complications to getting a job. If an unjustly unsealed record is preventing you from having your rights, you can petition the courts for immediate action and potentially seek compensation for your losses as well.