In The News: Clean Slate Act Awaits Assembly Vote

The Clean Slate Act is a bill that would automatically seal the criminal records of many New Yorkers.

Under the terms of the bill:

  • Misdemeanor offenses would be sealed after three years.
  • Felonies would be sealed after seven years.
  • Sex crimes are excluded from this bill.
  • Law enforcement agents and government agencies would still be able to run criminal background checks.

Sealing records would be automatic, and would help to end the issues that those convicted of crimes face as they attempt to reintegrate into society.

The legislation is S1554C/A6399B. It has passed the state Senate. The sponsor is Senator Zellnor Myrie, who said: “Clean Slate can’t wait. It’s a jobs bill, a housing bill, an education bill, an economy bill. This is a restorative bill. It’s about rehabilitation. It’s about our communities. It’s about investing.”

What are the chances Clean Slate will pass the Assembly? It was shelved until the 2023 session. Advocates are hopeful that the bill will be passed and that the governor will sign off on it at that time. Our blog, will, of course, continue to report on how this bill is doing.

Republicans object to the bill on the grounds that it might “trick” business owners. There have also been some difficulties on negotiation whether the three or seven year wait period should begin.

As of right now it is possible to seal some criminal records in New York. You must meet the following criteria:

  • Ten years must pass between your sentencing or release from prison.
  • You must apply to the court and your application must be reviewed by the judge who sentenced you, or, if that judge is no longer sitting in a New York court, to any other judge working at the court where you were convicted.
  • You must serve the application and the evidence to the District Attorney overseeing the county where you were sentenced.
  • You must have no current or pending charges, and no recent criminal convictions of any kind.
  • There is a maximum number of convictions that  may be sealed—you must be under the limit.
  • You may only seal your records if you have two convictions or less on your criminal record.
  • You may only seal convictions for nonviolent crimes, and you may not seal sex crimes or class “A” felonies. There are a few other exempt felonies on the list, as well.

Once sealed, records may not be viewed by the public, the police, or by prosecutors. It may be viewed by employers for jobs that involve the use of a firearm, a parole officer if you’re arrested while on parole, or by court order after you’ve been arrested for a new crime.

Minors may have their records sealed once they turn 16 years old, if they were convicted as a Youthful Offender.

Some defendants may also apply for a Certificate of Relief from Disabilities. This doesn’t seal your record, but it does allow you to pursue some professional licensing that might have otherwise been closed to you.

If you’re trying to get your records expunged, or if you’re trying to obtain a Certificate of Relief from Disabilities, you’ll need help from a qualified criminal defense attorney. This is a legal process like any other. Until the Clean Slate Act passes, you can call us.

See also:

What is a No Contest Plea Deal in New York? 

How Does Alternative Sentencing Work in New York? 

Can You Get Removed From the Sex Offender Registry in New York? 

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About The Author

Jeffery Greco

Jeffery Greco is an attorney providing legal services covering Criminal Defense and Criminal Defense: White Collar and Criminal Defense: DUI / DWI. Jeffery Greco, who practices law in New York, New York, was selected to Super Lawyers for 2020 - 2023. This peer designation is awarded only to a select number of accomplished attorneys in each state. The Super Lawyers selection process takes into account peer recognition, professional achievement in legal practice, and other cogent factors. Prior to becoming an attorney, he studied at South Texas College of Law Houston. He graduated in 2004. After passing the bar exam, he was admitted to legal practice in 2005.

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