man in a prison cellYou have been applying for jobs and you are sure that you qualify. However, one thing seems to be a significant impediment – your past conviction. The past seems to haunt you until now. If this sounds like you, then you need to have your records expunged.

Here are the most important things you should know if you want to expunge your criminal record in New York:

What is expungement?

This process gives you a chance to ask a court to destroy or seal your criminal records so that they are not available to the public.

Who are eligible to have their records expunged?

To qualify for an expungement, you should not have your driving license suspended, you should not have pending charges, and your criminal record should be clean for a certain number of years. When it comes to the latter, the waiting period depends on the severity of the crime.

  • For misdemeanor – five years after the conviction date
  • Non-violent crime – eight years
  • Serious felonies – ten years and requires the consent of the prosecuting lawyer

It is worth noting that expungement is not available for violent offenders, convicts of official misconduct, or sex offenders.

How much does it cost to file a petition?

You need to file a petition of expungement in the county where you were convicted. A petition comes with a fee, which in most cases, is equal to that of a court’s civil filing. But there is no fee applicable where the records didn’t lead to a conviction.

Can expunged records be referred in future?

Once the records are expunged, they are only not available to the public. This means there is limited accessibility; hence, the term ‘sealing’. However, specific government agencies, such as criminal courts and law enforcement agencies, can still access the records. During a legal proceeding, the expunged record can be used as proof of a prior conviction.

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Having your records expunged is one way of having your life back and starting a new chapter. This guide will set you up for a successful journey.

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