It’s especially common for people who have had criminal convictions, to do their time and move on with their lives to become productive citizens. This path, however, can be difficult with your criminal record following behind you at every turn.
It isn’t always a simple matter to just get a job, an education, or even find a place to live, with certain criminal convictions on your record. Many people wonder if it’s fair for a past criminal act to negatively affect a person for the rest of their lives – after they’ve paid the price for their crime.
Fortunately, a new law in New York, Criminal Procedure Law 160.59 could make it a little easier to get a fresh start. Before the new legislation, you could only seal your records in limited situations. Beginning in October 2017, you could have opportunities you didn’t have before, even with a criminal record behind you.
What Is Criminal Procedure Law 160.59?
This law is considered more forgiving than the previous laws for sealing records. And while the new law doesn’t exactly make cleaning up your record a walk in the park, it does make it easier. Beginning in October, you will be able to seal up to two New York criminal convictions — only one of which can be a felony conviction.
Requirements for Sealing Criminal Records
There are a couple of caveats with the new law. For instance, you are only eligible to seal a conviction under the new law after 10 years of good behavior from the date you were convicted or released from custody, whichever is later.
However, there are parameters. If you have more than two criminal convictions, if you have serious felonies like murder, or if your felonies are considered violent or are sex offenses – you likely will not qualify. Other examples of felonies that might not be eligible:
- Sexual conduct against a child
- Burglary or robbery
But even if you have one of these convictions, it might be worth looking into whether or not the new law can help get your records sealed. Several factors could be considered, including the seriousness of the crime and circumstances; so it doesn’t hurt to see if you are eligible.
How Sealing Your Records Could Help
Unfortunately, Criminal Procedure Law 160.59 isn’t going to erase your conviction completely. Law enforcement and certain regulatory government agencies will still be able to see your criminal records. However, it could make your charges invisible to many employers and other types of government agencies.
This means that you won’t have to divulge your criminal background to a prospective employer, which could also give you a better chance at employment. Other benefits to sealing your criminal record include applying for housing or student loans. If your records are sealed, you could be eligible for housing assistance and professional licenses, which can all lead to increased success in starting fresh and moving forward.
Further, one of the most significant benefits of sealing your criminal record is you won’t have to worry about the embarrassment that comes with failing a background check. With sealed records, you could have opportunities that weren’t available before.
Criminal Lawyers with Experience at E. Stewart Jones Hacker Murphy
Do you have criminal convictions and want a clean slate? Even with the new law to seal records, you’ll need experienced criminal defense lawyers who are familiar not just with the law but also with the application, paperwork, and process required. You might not be sure if you qualify, but a chance at a clean record – especially when it comes to employment and other opportunities – is certainly worth looking into.