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What you need to know about New York’s new sealing law

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For many, a criminal conviction may not carry a lifelong prison sentence, but it can carry a lifelong sentence of lost opportunities, job discrimination and other consequences. Even those who never face another conviction might have to live with punishment for a crime that took place many years ago. This could change, though, with a new law taking effect in October regarding criminal record sealing.

According to the Collateral Consequences Resource Center, §160.59 of New York’s Criminal Procedure Law will allow for new sealing provisions that make New York one of the most generous states in the country for such. You should know the following facts.

You may seal two convictions

The law provides for sealing up to two convictions at the discretion of the court. This means that any person with a criminal conviction may petition the court that tried them to have the records of the conviction sealed. One stipulation of this provision, however, is that only one of the crimes sealed may be a felony conviction.

Some crimes are not eligible

Although the law change will benefit many people with convictions, there are some who will not be eligible to have their crimes sealed. These include any person convicted of a sex crime, violent felony or class A felony. If your conviction is less than 10 years old, you may have to wait to have its records sealed.

Get started by filing an application

Sealing of conviction records does not occur automatically. Those interested should file an application with the court which handled the case originally. You must also include a sworn statement explaining the reason for sealing. This can be a challenging process to navigate. An experienced criminal defense attorney can help.

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James L. Riotto
Criminal Defense Lawyer

James L. Riotto is an accomplished criminal defense attorney serving clients in New York. With an extensive background in law enforcement and criminal prosecution, his approach to each case is unique and informed by years of experience with the New York criminal justice system. As a graduate from Albany Law School and before going on to start his own practice, James worked at the Albany County District Attorney's Office, where he helped prosecute many DWI offenses. His inside knowledge of the tactics used to gain convictions provides him with a particular advantage when defending against DUI and other criminal charges.

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Adam Staier
Of Counsel

About Attorney Adam Staier has spent the last seven years practicing criminal defense law throughout upstate New York and the Capital Region. He began his legal career through internships in civil law, indigent legal representation and federal energy law regulation. Finding a passion in criminal law, Mr. Staier held internships handling both prosecution and defense…

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