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Sealing a criminal record in New York

Today, it is not uncommon for New York resident to undergo a background check. While this process frequently reveals minor violations, for some residents, this could expose a criminal history that could make it difficult for an individual to obtain a job, housing or even financial aid. Because of that, offenders might take steps to reduce the impact a criminal record can have on their personal or professional life.

In the state of New York, criminal offenders are not able to expunge criminal convictions. This means that a convicted offender cannot have a criminal record permanently erased; however, there are alternative options that could make it difficult for the general public to see the person's criminal record.

Residents in New York have the ability to seal their criminal record, which means that their criminal record will become invisible to the public. The biggest benefit experienced by sealing a record is its ability to remove the rap sheet that is sent to employers and is connected to fingerprints. While sealing a criminal record makes it invisible to the general public, it should be noted that it does not erase the record.

Moreover, specific people under certain circumstances can still view an individual's criminal record. This includes people, when people apply for a gun license, an employer if they are applying to work as a law enforcement officer, a peace officer or a job that requires a gun, the military if people are enlisting, parole or probation officers, prosecutors and to anyone who goes to the court where the conviction occurs.

Cases that can be sealed include juvenile delinquencies, cases where there was no conviction, a non-criminal violation offense, possession of less than seven-eighths of an ounce of marijuana and felonies and misdemeanors on a conditional basis, which usually requires treatment programs.

Criminal charges carry more than just penalties related to their sentences. A defendant could suffer from allegations and a resulting criminal record. Because of that, defendants should be aware of criminal defense options at all phases of the process, which could be even post-conviction.

Source: Statelaws.findlaw.com, "How To Expunge a Criminal Record in New York," accessed May 23, 2016

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