There are certain instances in which you can seal your criminal records so they can’t be viewed by outside sources including employers. This makes it easier to get a job when they’re doing background checks. There are many benefits to sealing your record. In some states, a record can be expunged, but not in New York. The only option for New York residents is to get their record sealed.
People Who Can See Your Record
While it’s not erased completely, there are only specific people who can view your record. It becomes invisible to employers in certain cases. If you apply to become a police officer, it’ll be visible to the person hiring. In a job where you’re required to have a gun, your record will be visible to those departments or companies. There are more agencies and people who can view your record too.
Records That Can be Sealed
With every situation, there are different circumstances that might allow for sealing of juvenile records. In general, you can seal most juvenile records and criminal convictions if you were under the age of 16.
Any case where there was no conviction is automatically sealed. This has been routine practice since 1991, so if your case was after 1991, there’s nothing you need to do. Older cases might need to be sealed.
Non-criminal violations like trespassing or loitering can be sealed unless there are more serious circumstances involved. These offenses are sealed one year after conviction automatically. This has been true since 1991. Anything prior will need to be sealed by you.
In cases of possession involving marijuana with less than 7/8 of an ounce, the conviction will be sealed after 3 years.
There are other cases involving felonies and misdemeanors that judges will seal based on the case and in certain conditions.
Records You Can’t Seal
In the case of being a juvenile, if you were older than 13 years old and were convicted of a serious crime, you were treated as an adult. That case cannot be sealed.
If the charges of loitering involved loitering in a sexually deviant manner, the record cannot be sealed.
DWIs are another type of case that are not allowed to be sealed.
How to Seal Your Record
For those criminal records that aren’t sealed automatically after a few years, you’ll have to file a motion in court. This will have to be done at the court where you were convicted or where you were prosecuted. You’ll need the details of the case along with all the details of the arrest. If you completed a program required for sealing the record, you’ll need proof of that.
The court can approve or challenge your petition. If approved, the records will be sealed. If challenged, the court wants more information. You might have to stand in front of a judge to answer the challenge in more detail.
A lawyer can help with the petition, finding information about your record and advise you on cases where you can seal your record. Sealing your record will help you find a good job. Old indiscretions can haunt you for the rest of your life, so it’s best to seal your records to be sure you can have the best future possible.