Sealing Criminal Records | Lawyers for the Accused

Sealing Criminal Records2022-10-07T21:31:22+00:00


Sealing Convictions In New York | Lawyers & Attorneys

Having a criminal record can prevent you from moving on and living a successful life. Criminal convictions can impact your ability to:

  • Obtain a loan or certain insurances
  • Participate in organizations
  • Adopt children
  • Gain employment
  • Obtain certain licenses
  • Obtain a passport
  • Possess a weapon

If you have a criminal record, it is important to contact an attorney who handles criminal record sealing who can help you with the sealing process.

Frequently Asked Questions About Sealing Convictions In New York

Our attorneys provide answers to some important questions below.

What options do I have to seal my record in New York?2020-06-29T10:46:52+00:00

There are various options to seal criminal matters in New York.

  1. Upon acquittal, or dismissal for other reasons, such as an adjournment in contemplation of dismissal (ACOD), the records are sealed, and the defendant’s fingerprints and photos are returned or destroyed pursuant to Criminal Procedure Law section 160.50.
  2. With a plea to a noncriminal offense, e.g., Disorderly Conduct or Harassment 2nd degree, sealing occurs pursuant to Criminal Procedure Law section 160.55. Sealing occurs unless the prosecution moves upon not less than five days’ notice to stop the sealing in the interests of justice.
  3. If a person under age 19 receives a youthful offender adjudication, the criminal records are made confidential.
  4. Where a defendant has completed judicial diversion, drug court or other judicially sanctioned drug treatment program and has completed the sentence, “conditional sealing” is available under Criminal Procedure Law section 160.58.
  5. A person with up to two convictions, but not more than one felony, may also apply for sealing after at least ten years have passed since sentence was imposed or, if incarceration, 10 years since release from jail or prison under Criminal Procedure Law section 160.59.
How long do I have to wait to seal my New York criminal convictions under 160.59?2020-08-11T21:07:57+00:00

As of October 2017, individuals who have been convicted of an eligible offense can bring an application to have their records sealed as long as they have not been convicted of another crime for a period of ten (10) years since their conviction date or release from jail/prison, whichever happened later. As an example, if you were convicted in 2000, and released from prison in 2005, assuming you had no arrests after your release, you could bring a sealing application in 2015.

Is my conviction one that can be sealed under CPL 160.59?2020-06-29T10:46:05+00:00

Most non-violent felonies and misdemeanors are eligible.  Sex crimes, violent felonies and serious felonies are not eligible for sealing.

The following is a general list of crimes that may NOT be sealed under this law:

  • Any sex offense within Penal Law §130 (Sex Offenses)
  • Any offense within Penal Law §263 (Child Sex Offenses)
  • Any felony within Penal Law §125 (Homicide Offenses)
  • Any violent felony
  • Any class A felony within the Penal Law
  • Any felony within Penal Law §105 (underlying not eligible) (Conspiracy Offenses)
  • Any “attempted” felony if the felony that was attempted is itself not eligible
  • Any offense that requires you to register as a sex offender

To determine if your prior conviction qualifies for sealing, contact a lawyer who handles sealing applications.

Do I qualify to have my convictions sealed under CPL 160.59?2020-06-29T10:45:40+00:00

An individual may be eligible if they meet the following criteria:

  • Have not been convicted of a crime for a period of ten (10) years since their sentencing. If they were sentenced to jail/prison, ten (10) years since their release.
  • Have two or less criminal convictions. Only one of these convictions can be a felony. If they have more than two (2) convictions, they may still be eligible if the convictions are related to the same incident.
  • Have no pending criminal cases.
What is the process to have my criminal record sealed under 160.59?2020-06-29T10:45:18+00:00

If you meet the criteria to have your criminal records sealed, a detailed application must be submitted with the reasons for requesting sealing. The application must contain a copy of a certificate of disposition for any offense for which the defendant was convicted. The application is filed in the court where the conviction for the most serious offense occurred. The application is also submitted to the district attorney’s offices where the conviction/convictions were obtained. The district attorney(s) must notify the court within forty-five days if there is any objection to the sealing application.

What will the court consider if I ask my for my criminal record to be sealed under 160.59?2020-06-29T10:44:57+00:00

In considering an application to seal your criminal records the judge will consider many factors including:

  • the amount of time that has elapsed since the last conviction;
  • the circumstances and seriousness of the offense for which you were convicted;
  • the circumstances and seriousness of any other offenses for which you were convicted;
  • the character of the defendant, including any measures that the defendant has taken toward rehabilitation, such as participating in treatment programs, work, or schooling, and participating in community service or other volunteer programs;
  • any statements made by the victim of the offense for which the defendant is seeking relief;
  • the impact of sealing the defendant’s record upon his or her rehabilitation and upon his or her successful and productive reentry and reintegration into society;
  • the impact of sealing the defendant’s record on public safety and upon the public’s confidence in and respect for the law.
Can I apply to have my record sealed if I have a previous drug conviction that was sealed?2020-06-29T10:44:15+00:00

Maybe. If you have only one prior drug conviction that was sealed under Criminal Procedure Law section 160.58, and now you seek to have a different conviction sealed, and the total convictions sealed amount to no more than one felony or no more than two misdemeanors, you may be eligible to obtain sealing of the additional conviction under Criminal Procedure Law section 160.59.

What if I have three or more convictions, can I still seal my record?2020-06-29T10:43:48+00:00

Maybe. For the purposes of this law, if multiple convictions are from the same incident, then they will be counted as only one conviction, even though they would be sealed.

For example, if you had a misdemeanor larceny in 2000 and in 2001you were convicted of two felonies, one for possession of a drug with intent to sell and one for selling it. Likely those two felonies are from the same event. Under this example, let’s also assume you were released from a prison sentence in 2005 and since then, you have never again been arrested.

Under this scenario the two felonies count as one because they occurred during the same incident. Therefore, the law sees you as having one (1) felony and one (1) misdemeanor. You would be eligible to have all three convictions sealed since it has been over ten (10) years and you have no pending criminal cases, resulting in a clean record.

If my application is successful, what records will be sealed?2020-06-29T10:43:23+00:00

When a sealing application is granted, the records on file with any court and the New York State Department of Criminal Justice Services will be sealed. These records include all official records and papers related to the individual’s arrest, prosecution, and conviction, as well as any copies of these records. In addition, all fingerprints, booking photos, and DNA samples may be returned or destroyed.

Is sealing the same as expungement?2020-08-11T21:08:22+00:00

No.  New York does not recognize or have an expungement process.  With sealing, the records still exist, they just are not accessible to the public.

Who can see a conviction after it has been sealed?2020-06-29T10:42:31+00:00

Members of the public will not be able to see a conviction that is sealed.  However, sealed records can be made available to the following:

  • You or anyone you authorize to see the records.
  • Federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies acting within the scope of their law enforcement duties.
  • Any agency that issues firearm licenses or pistol permits, as well as the criminal justice information services of the federal bureau of investigation for the purpose of responding to a background check regarding attempts to purchase or possess firearms.
  • Any prospective employer of a police officer or peace officer.
Can I get my pistol permit if my criminal record is sealed?2020-06-29T10:42:06+00:00

Maybe. While a sealed record may make you eligible for a pistol permit, the inquiry regarding a pistol permit application is wide-ranging and may include youthful offender adjudications, dismissed charges, and sealed records. The licensing agency will also consider other factors when considering whether to grant a pistol permit application including your criminal history, your moral character and whether there is any history of mental illness. The bottom line is that a sealed record is not a guarantee you will be able to obtain a pistol permit.

If I am asked by an employer if I have a criminal conviction, can I answer “no”?2020-06-29T10:41:45+00:00

Yes, so long as the formal sealing order has been granted. This is a major benefit to this law. Other than the situations above where you still must disclose your sealed record, all other employment situations allow you to affirmatively deny any prior convictions.

Will my conviction be sealed permanently?2020-06-29T10:41:15+00:00

It depends.  If you do not get arrested again, your records will be sealed permanently.  However, if you do get re-arrested, you will lose the seal on your records.

Is the court required to seal my criminal record if I qualify for sealing?2020-06-29T10:40:03+00:00

No.  The determination on whether to seal your criminal record is a discretionary decision made by a Judge.  To apply for your record to be sealed, an application must be submitted to a Judge with notice to the agency that prosecuted your case.  In New York State, that notice is most often made to the District Attorney’s Office in the County where your case was prosecuted.  The District Attorney’s Office will have the right to consent, object, or defer to the Court with respect to the sealing application. If the district attorney opposes the application, the sentencing judge or county or supreme court must conduct a hearing in order to consider any evidence offered by either party that would aid the sentencing judge in his or her decision whether to seal your records.

What documents do I need in order to submit a sealing application?2020-06-29T10:39:39+00:00

To apply for your records to be sealed, you need a certificate of disposition from all courts that you are seeking your records to be sealed. If you cannot recall the court(s) where you were convicted, it is recommended you obtain a copy of your criminal history report. This can be obtained from the NYS Department of Criminal Justice Services. In addition, it is suggested that you obtain character reference letters that can attest to your good character and provide evidence of your rehabilitation since your conviction. Finally, if you have participated in any treatment programs, schooling, community service or other volunteer programs, any documents reflecting this is helpful.

What information should be included in a character reference letter?2020-06-29T10:39:15+00:00

A character reference letter should include the following:

  • Writer’s name and occupation
  • Nature of the writer’s relationship with the you
  • Description of your character, moral strength/qualities, work ethic, and/or reputation, etc.
  • Specific examples that support the writer’s description of you
If I do not qualify for sealing, what other options do I have?2020-06-29T10:38:51+00:00

If you do not qualify to have your records sealed, you may qualify for a certificate of relief from disabilities or a certificate of good conduct.

What is a certificate of relief from disabilities?2020-06-29T10:38:25+00:00

A certificate of relief from disabilities recognizes your rehabilitation since the time you committed a crime or offense. It is a certificate issued by a judge and is designed to relieve an “eligible offender” of any forfeiture or disability, or to remove any bar to the offender’s employment, automatically imposed by law by reason of his or her conviction of the specified crime or offense. An “eligible offender” is defined as a person who has been convicted of a crime or of an offense, but who has not been convicted more than once of a felony.

What is a certificate of good conduct?2020-06-29T10:38:03+00:00

A certificate of good conduct, like a certificate of relief from disabilities relieves a person of any disability, or bar to his employment, automatically imposed by law by reason of a conviction for a crime or offense. What is different from a certificate of relief from disabilities is that you are eligible for the Certificate of Good Conduct even if you have been convicted of more than one felony. However, to obtain a certificate of good conduct you must wait:

  • five years if the most serious felony on your criminal record is an A or B;
  • three years if the most serious felony on your criminal record is a C, D or E felony; or
  • one year if you only have misdemeanors on your criminal record.

The waiting period begins when you were last released from incarceration (prison or jail) or from the time of your last criminal conviction, whichever occurrence is last.

LaMarche Safranko Law Testimonials


Vicki Testimonial Transcript
Well, I met George in 2014. My son was arrested for a criminal offense, and George—he has this ability, it’s just who he is. He’s genuinely empathetic and he’s very compassionate and he has the ability to just make you feel safe. You know? I just always felt I was in great hands and my son was in good hands and that we would have a good outcome of our situation and we always have. And he’s brilliant. He’s a brilliant lawyer. He’s very skilled and very creative. He has excellent rapport with all the judges and DAs and officials, and he’s always found a rehabilitative outcome for my son which I genuinely appreciate.

Laurie Testimonial Transcript
George was referred to me by my estate attorney. They go way back and it was a great referral, I don’t think I could have done any better, it was a very good match for me. Something that was really really instrumental in the whole thing was George keeping us up-to-date on what was going on and very much included. I was invited to be at all the depositions if I wanted to be and he gave me all the written depositions to read through, so I was always up-to-date on what was going on and I felt like a part of the process. I would definitely recommend George to other people. In fact, about 2 weeks ago I did. A friend of mine was in a pedestrian car accident, she was the pedestrian and is in pretty rough shape, and he was the first person I thought of so I actually asked him if it would be in his purview and he said yes. And I know that she’s very happy with him so far.

Jules Testimonial Transcript
What brought me to the firm was a personal incident where Andrew was recommended to me very highly by a family friend who’s also an attorney, and Andrew represented me to great satisfaction in that case. What impressed me the most about Andrew was his direct straightforward approach, and he has this incredible way of setting you at ease and yet telling you the good and the bad of a situation. I felt that he was very much a straight shooter and lived up to the reputation that preceded him. I would recommend them and Andrew Safranko to anybody in the world. They’re just that class of a group of people.

Chuck Testimonial Transcript
Well, I came to LaMarche Safranko Law because I knew Andy was here and he’s helped me in the past and I just feel so comfortable coming to him because you know you’re going to get the best outcome that you can get in a criminal law field. He’s done such a fabulous job for me and I’ve seen what he does for me, so I’m sure he’ll do the same—put out the same effort and energy and zeal it takes to win their case like he has mine. I would feel very comfortable recommending him.

“My family and I cannot thank George and his staff enough for all of the support and guidance they have given us over the past six months. Anyone who has ever suffered a personal injury knows how difficult they are to overcome, but I’m glad we had such an intelligent and hardworking attorney on our side so I could focus on my recovery rather than on the details of the case….

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A personal injury client from Waterford, NY

“I am an attorney who found himself in the middle of a serious, personal legal matter that compromised not only my personal life but my professional life as well. I immediately contacted Andrew (Andy) Safranko, Esq. Andy worked tirelessly and extremely hard to bring my legal situation to a very favorable resolution. In so doing, Andy not only saved certain aspects of my personal and professional life

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Anonymous Attorney from Albany, NY

“Dear Andy,

Thank you so much for everything you have done for our son over the last three years.  This has been a very challenging time for our family and the knowledge that our son has an attorney as capable and amazing as you are has given us peace of mind!

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Parents of a client from Cropseyville, NY

“Throughout the attorney client relationship regarding my personal injury lawsuit, George and his staff continually exhibited tremendous amounts of legal knowledge, skill, and a vast amount of expert resources that ultimately resulted in a final judgment in my favor.  George was there every step of the way to explain where we stood and what to expect next and there was never a need to question his professional judgment…

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A client from Troy, NY

“I wanted to take this opportunity to thank you for your excellent representation on my recent matter. I have worked with lawyers, and in law firms much of my professional life, but I have never encountered the rare mix of skill, integrity and humanity in one individual—you….

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A client from Rensselaer, NY

“Dear George, Andy and Staff,

Thank you all for your kindness and all your help in getting back to my wellbeing and life.  I could not have done it without you all.  Everything is going so well again.  I recommend you highly. Thanks Again!”

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A client from Troy, NY

“I cannot thank George E. LaMarche lll and his team for the excellent legal work they provided for my son, and in extension, our entire family. His experience, knowledge of the law, networking ability and communication is second to none. In our case, our son was wrongly accused by a small town police officer and charged with 5 tickets…

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A client from Altamont, NY

“The staff at LaMarche Safranko Law took care of  whatever I needed, it was just fabulous. It was top shelf, if I called, I got George. If he was in a meeting, they left him a message. He called me right back after the meeting. Everybody was very courteous and very nice there. If I left a voicemail, everybody got back to me quickly. The level of service  was very, very good and I would Highly recommend them.”

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A personal injury client from Cohoes, NY

“I wanted to express my deepest appreciation to Mr. Andrew Safranko for the exceptional job he did in regards to my legal representation. Mr. Safranko displayed the utmost in professionalism and discretion during the entire court process, and took the time to explain each and every step….

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A client from Schenectady, NY

“No one likes to be in a bad situation, but if you need a lawyer George is your man. Not only does he point you in the right direction he offers good advice for your future. As much as we bring him business he does not encourage that next time anticipation….

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A client from Albany, NY

“I can honestly say that the best decision I’ve ever made was retaining George LaMarche as my attorney. I was in a situation where everything wasat risk; my career, livelihood, and the ability to provide for my family. In desperation, I contacted over a dozen attorneys. The majority of the lawyers I spoke with promised results without seeing paperwork or knowing valuable facts….

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A client from Albany, NY

“The arrest of my husband in 2008 was an extremely difficult and emotional time for our family. The arrest turned our lives upside down. It was sudden and unexpected and had tragic emotional as well as financial consequences. I had no idea what to do under the circumstances….

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A client from Upstate New York

“Dear Andrew and George,

I cannot thank you enough for your hard work, diligence, and selfless manner that you put towards my legal difficulties in Colonie. From the first moment I met you, you helped reassure me that things were going to turn out in a more favorable manner than I originally thought. Clearly, the final result of my court case displays the quality of time and work that you put into this….

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A client from Colonie, NY

“Dear Mr. Safranko,

Thank You so much for answering my question, and so expediently!

The dedication, respect, and consideration with which you treat your clients, current and past, is remarkable. It is why I reached out to you when searching in my time of need, and why I would highly recommend…

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A client from Albany, NY
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