What is the Difference Between Expunged and Sealed Records in New York?



    When a person commits a crime, they can receive a criminal record if they are convicted. This can follow a person for the rest of their life, making it difficult to get a job, a house, and more. This is because when a background check is done by a prospective employer, credit agency, landlord, or government official, their criminal record will show. However, the state of New York recognizes this and offers certain individuals the opportunity to protect their records. This can be done by having them sealed. While other states may allow expungement, New York does not.. Continue reading below to learn more and retain the services of an experienced New York criminal defense attorney for help with your case.

    What is Expungement?

    In other states, the opportunity to expunge a criminal record may be allowed. This clears an arrest or conviction from a person’s record if they meet the proper criteria. However, the state of New York does not offer this to criminal offenders. Instead, they may allow a record to be sealed. 

    What is a Sealed Record?

    When a person has their record sealed, it only gives the appearance that it was cleared. Simply put, a sealed record is removed from the public record and cannot be viewed by others even though it still exists. While this is true, sealed records can be accessed or re-opened through a court order. The following crimes can be sealed in the state of New York:

    • Possession of less than ⅞ of an ounce of marijuana, three years after their conviction 
    • Non-criminal violations, such as trespassing
    • Certain crimes committed as a juvenile
    • Any charge where there was no conviction
    • Certain misdemeanors or felonies, as long as the offender either entered court-mandated alcohol or drug treatment program, have no additional pending charges, and have satisfied any sentence or request mandated after they completed treatment.

    In New York, a person who wants their record sealed must retain the services of a proper attorney who can file a motion with the court and petition the seal of their records. If approved, they will receive notice that their record was sealed. It is important to know this is not an easy process, as the court may challenge the petition. In these cases, the individual will be required to present evidence to the court that proves they deserve to have their record sealed.

    Contact our Firm

    Criminal matters can change the course of your life forever. This is why you need an experienced attorney who will aggressively combat your charges to help mitigate their long-term effects. If you are in need of experienced legal counsel for a criminal defense matter on Long Island or throughout New York State, please contact Grunwald & Seman, P.C. to schedule a consultation. We would be happy to assist you.

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