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Expunging or Sealing Adult Criminal Records in New York

New York allows criminal records to be sealed under the circumstances described below. When your record is sealed, it is hidden from public view, though some government agencies may still have access to it. In most cases, after your record is sealed, you may say that you were not arrested or convicted of a crime.

Sealing an Arrest Record in New York

Your arrest record can be sealed if the case was terminated in your favor -- for example, if the charges were dismissed, dropped, vacated, or your conviction was set aside. (New York Criminal Procedure Law § 160.50.)

Sealing a Criminal Conviction in New York

Noncriminal offenses. Convictions for most noncriminal offenses -- such as traffic infractions or disorderly conduct violations -- can be sealed. (New York Criminal Procedure Law § 160.55.)

Drug convictions. Records for many drug crimes can be sealed if you successfully complete an approved diversion or treatment program. (New York Criminal Procedure Law § 160.58.)

Other misdemeanor or felony convictions.  Except for the drug convictions mentioned above, misdemeanor or felony convictions cannot be expunged or sealed.

DNA records. If your conviction was reversed or vacated, or if you were pardoned, any related DNA evidence may be expunged from the state DNA database. (New York Executive Law § 995-c.)

Getting Legal Help

Cleaning up your criminal history can be complicated. If you are not sure whether your record qualifies for sealing in New York -- or for advice about your personal situation -- you should contact a qualified criminal law attorney. A good lawyer can guide you each step of the way.

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