"To open blind eyes, to bring prisoners out of a dungeon, those who sit in darkness out of a prison."
- Isaiah 42

Could a motion to seal a conviction offer you a second chance?

On Behalf of | May 21, 2024 | Post-Conviction Relief

A criminal conviction can have long-lasting effects, extending far beyond the sentence. It can impact job prospects, housing opportunities, and even social relationships.

Thankfully, the law offers a way for individuals to move past their convictions and reintegrate into society: the motion to seal a conviction. What should you know about sealing a criminal conviction and how this process might help you?

What is a motion to seal a conviction?

A motion to seal a conviction is a legal request made to the court to seal the records of a criminal conviction from public view. This does not erase the conviction. Instead, it makes the records invisible to the general public, including most potential employers and landlords.

Are you eligible to seal a conviction?

Under New York law, the court can only seal some criminal records. In order to qualify, you must meet several different criteria:

  • Ten years must have passed since you completed your sentence and you have been crime-free in that time
  • You have two or fewer criminal convictions in your life
  • You have no more than one felony conviction
  • The court has not ordered you to register as a sex offender
  • You do not have an open criminal case

Also, you should keep in mind that certain types of charges can’t be hidden from public view. These include serious violent felonies and sexual offenses. New York courts also cannot seal an out-of-state or federal offense.

The court may also consider other factors when deciding whether to seal your record. These include the nature of the charge, your behavior since the conviction and how the conviction has impacted your reentry into society.

Remember, a mistake does not have to be a life sentence. With determination and legal guidance, you can ensure that your past does not overshadow your potential.