This page was designed to help our clients better understand our New York Drug Conviction Sealing service. You will find answers to the questions we are most frequently asked. If your question is related to eligibility requirements please take the free online eligibility test.
No, as long as you meet all the requirements to have your record sealed, then the exact disposition of the case (no contest, guilty plea, or found guilty) does not matter.
For a small fee, we can research your case(s) to determine what exactly is on your record and if you are eligible for any of our New York services. If you are eligible, then we apply that researching fee to the cost of any service you hire us to handle for you.
The following offenses are “specified offenses”:
-Burglary in the third degree as defined in section 140.20, -Criminal mischief in the third degree as defined in section 145.05, -Criminal mischief in the second degree as defined in section 145.10, -Grand larceny in the fourth degree as defined in subdivision one, two, three, four, five, six, eight, nine or ten of section 155.30, grand larceny in the third degree as defined in section 155.35 (except where the property consists of one or more firearms, rifles or shotguns), -Unauthorized use of a vehicle in the second degree as defined in section 165.06, -Criminal possession of stolen property in the fourth degree as defined in subdivision one, two, three, five or six of section 165.45, -Criminal possession of stolen property in the third degree as defined in section 165.50 (except where the property consists of one or more firearms, rifles or shotguns), -Forgery in the second degree as defined in section 170.10, -Criminal possession of a forged instrument in the second degree as defined in section 170.25, -Unlawfully using slugs in the first degree as defined in section 170.60
An attempt to commit any of the aforementioned offenses if such attempt constitutes a felony offense, a class B felony offense defined in article two hundred twenty where a sentence is imposed pursuant to paragraph (a) of subdivision two of section 70.70 of the penal law; or any class C, class D or class E controlled substance or marijuana felony offense as defined in article two hundred twenty or two hundred twenty-one.
The court will look at each case individually and then determine whether that particular offense is eligible to be sealed. The fact that you have multiple arrests or convictions on your record will not necessarily prevent you from getting a sealing, but the court can consider your entire criminal history to decide whether or not to grant you a sealing for a particular case. CPL § 160.58(2)(a)
There does not appear to be any law in New York that would allow a felony to be reduced down to a misdemeanor or other lower level of offense if the conviction has already been imposed. The best time to reduce a felony would be before you were convicted—typically through plea negotiations with the prosecutor.
Your record sealing could be denied if (1) the court does not believe granting your sealing will be in the interest of society, (2) all the proper procedures for the sealing were not followed or (3) you or the particular offense is not eligible for sealing. CPL § 160.58(3)
Yes. Convictions and arrests are eligible for sealing in New York. It is the type of the offense and your sentence that determines whether can have the case sealed. CPL § 160.58(3)
No, you should not need to attend your hearing, because we will be appearing at the court date for you. It is possible the judge will also request you be present, but if you are unable to attend, we will do all we can to get your appearance excused by the court.
A typical New York sealing case takes five to six months. The time frame varies based on the circumstances of each case, the caseload of the court at the time, and whether the government objects to the petition.
Unfortunately, we cannot expedite the process through the court, as they handle cases in the order in which they are filed. However, we will work as fast as we can on our end and we can also write a letter indicating that we are in the process of having your case sealed. You can provide this letter to an employer or potential employer if this criminal case is causing you problems with your employment.
You can deny the existence of your conviction. The records are sealed and not released to the general public. Only courts, prosecutors, law enforcement agencies, and a few other state agencies will have access to the records. Private agencies, employers, and individuals will not have any access.
If the judge denies your case, we will evaluate what the best next step is. This could be refiling, waiting longer to refile or filing a motion for reconsideration. If we do not believe that immediately refiling or asking the judge to reconsider his decision is a good option for your case, we do offer a money-back guarantee on some of our services.
Yes. Prosecutors and courts will have access to all sealed records to use for future purposes. CPL § 160.58(6)(b)
You will have to disclose the sealed conviction to any state or local officer or agency when applying for a gun permit, and on any application to become a police officer or peace officer. Also, the agencies listed below will have access to your sealed records, and may find out about your conviction if you do not disclose your record upfront. CPL § 160.58(6)
No. Sex offenses are not eligible for sealing in New York. Thus, even if you somehow manage to seal other non-sex offenses, it would not have any effect on your requirement to register if you have a conviction for a sex offense that requires registration. CPL § 160.58(1)
Canada and the US have entered into an information sharing agreement, meaning that Canada has on file all the same information that the US government has/had. If you are eligible to seal your record prior to trying to enter Canada we definitely recommend doing so. Even if the case still pops up in their background check of you, you could then show them documentation that the case has been sealed.
If you are a convicted felon but you were not sentenced to prison for the felony conviction, you do not lose your right to vote. If, however, you were sentenced to prison for the felony conviction, getting that conviction sealed will not restore your voting rights. You will have to use some other method, such as a pardon from the Governor.
To find out if your criminal case affects your immigration case or if getting the record sealed would be beneficial, you should definitely contact a qualified immigration attorney to discuss your specific case and circumstances. Our in-house immigration attorney would be happy to answer your questions and can be reached at 714-617-8395.
No. Getting your conviction sealed will not restore any rights you lost as a result of that conviction. Sealing only hides the records of the offense from the general public.
In New York, you may serve on a jury if you: 1) are a United States citizen, 2) are over the age of eighteen, 3) are a resident of the county by which you are summoned, 4) are able to understand and communicate in English, 5) have not been convicted of a felony, unless you have had your rights restored.
Only the select agencies listed above will have access to your sealed conviction records. Thus, if you are answering to an agency that is not listed above, you can legally deny the existence of the records and the agency will likely not find out about them.
Section 19 of the Federal Deposit Insurance Act permits banks to bar prospective and current employees who have had “Breach of Trust” or "Dishonesty" convictions from jobs they may otherwise be qualified for. If you think you may have a breach of trust or dishonesty conviction and work or want to work in the banking field, you should contact an attorney to discuss your case, whether Section 19 applies to you, and if so the possibility of applying for a waiver with the FDIC.
Once an offense has been sealed under New York’s sealing statute, the records may not be disclosed to any private or public agency, and can only be accessed by you (the subject of the record), law enforcement and criminal justice agencies, and a few select state agencies. The records will not be available to the general public or to private agencies and employers. CPL § 160.58(4)
Any law enforcement or criminal justice agency will have access to sealed records. Also, the following agencies will have access to sealed records: • Any court in NY • The Administrative Board of the Judicial Conference • All Probation Departments • All Sheriff's Offices • All District Attorneys’ offices • The State Department of Correctional Services • The State Division of Probation • The Department of Correction for any municipality • The Insurance Frauds Bureau of the State Department of Insurance • The Office of Professional Medical Conduct of the State Department of Health • The Child Protective Services unit of any local Social Services district • The Office of Medicaid Inspector General • The Temporary State Office of Investigation • The Criminal Investigation Bureau of the Banking Department • All police forces and departments • The Onondaga County Center for Forensic Sciences Laboratory
CPL § 160.58(6)
The agencies will be sent a copy of the order, signed by the judge, granting the sealing of your case. The agencies will then be required to comply with this order.
Each agency varies in the amount of time it will take for them to update their records. It also simply depends on how busy they are at the time they receive your granted order. The court will in most cases be the first to update its records and should be updated fairly soon after the judge grants the sealing. The other agencies take approximately 30 days to update their records.
Sealing does not impact your driving record. Typically, records of your case maintained by the DMV will eventually be removed from your driving history report after a certain number of years; the same is not true of the criminal records unless you have it sealed by the court.