New York City Criminal Lawyer
Sealing and expungement are
closely related terms.
Expungement is legal term to describe the process by which criminal records such as
arrest records and mugshots are destroyed or sealed from the state or
federal repository. Different US states may have laws that can help you
expunge criminal records.
Sealing is a legal term that means that certain official records are concealed
from the public record and not capable of being viewed. For example, a
criminal record may be sealed so that the person can have a second chance
without prospective employers finding the arrest and/or conviction.
In New York, the term "sealing" is often used instead of "expungement"
because sealing is the word that the legislature uses the most in the
applicable laws. In New York, sealing criminal records happens when those
records and even the existence of those records are hidden from the general
public and, sometimes, hidden from law enforcement. Sealing can happen
if your case was dismissed or even if you were convicted of qualifying offenses.
Common Types of Sealing in New York:
|State Criminal Record
Before computers, criminal records were printed on paper and if you got
your case expunged or sealed, some or all of these records would be physically
destroyed or returned to you. In the modern era with the prevalence of
computerized data, sealing is probably a more accurate description of
what happens to criminal records when they are expunged. This means that
records of your arrest, the mugshot, fingerprints, and court paperwork
are often created digitally. Upon sealing, these items would be made unavailable
to the public. Although they may be stored somewhere, their existence
could not be reported to someone doing a background search.
Sealed versus destroyed records. If a background check is done on someone who has a sealed New York conviction
and an old New York conviction where the physical records of the conviction
were destroyed, would there be a difference in a background check? No.
The background should be clean regardless of whether your records were
sealed or physically destroyed.
How we can help.
The best time to contact us is while your case is still open and pending
in court. While your case is still open, you have a shot at getting it
sealed under CPL 160.50 which, as you can see from above, is probably
the best and fastest sealing option. If you have an upcoming court date
or an old unresolved NYC criminal case,
contact us for a consultation.