A felony has a big impact on a person’s life and if you live in New York, you’ve come here trying to find out how to get the felony off your record. Realize that with all felony records, there are three options you can take. 1) Expunge Your Record 2) Seal Your Record 3) Request a Pardon of Your Record
The problem though is that all states don’t offer all three of these options. But before we get into what New York offers, let’s review what each of these options actually mean.
If you get your record expunged in New York it’s as if your arrest and/or charges never happened. Your record is completely destroyed, including all physical and public records. When asked if have a criminal record, after expungement, you can truthfully answer “no”.
Sealing your record in New York is similar to expungement, but your record still exists in a limited form. The public does not have access to your record, but there are some exceptions. Your records can still be accessed by law enforcement and the courts. Record sealing is not as secure as expungement, but it is a reasonable alternative that is comparatively easier to obtain if your state offers it.
If you receive a pardon in New York, you still have record of your arrest or charge, but your guilt is exonerated. That is, you have proven that you are rehabilitated and forgiven for your crimes. You can also get relief in terms of having various rights restored, such as your right to vote. The requirements for pardons vary between states, but typically there is a lot of documentation required, and includes lengthy waiting periods to apply and receive a pardon.
Things to Know Before You Start
First: It’s important to understand that every state is different in terms of what methods are available for felons to remove their record and the information below will help you understand what you can do in New York.
Felony Expungement in New York
No, it is not possible to expunge your felony in New York.
Sealing a Record in New York
Yes, it is possible to seal your record in New York but it depends on the felony.
Getting a Pardon in New York
Yes, it is possible to get a pardon off your record in New York but it depends on the felony.
Second: When trying to clear your record, you really have two options. The first is to get a free consultation from a lawyer to see what they think of your case, and the second is to try to do all of the paperwork yourself.
Third: We HIGHLY recommend that you get a free consultation from a lawyer prior to taking any action. We say this because whether you want to expunge, seal, or pardon your record, it’s an extremely complicated process. Failure to follow the process properly can end up with you being denied for the request and having to wait additional time (sometimes several years) before you can file again. In addition, getting an expungement lawyer can increase your odds of succeeding and sometimes it’s more affordable than you think. The first step is to click on the button below to confirm that you’re eligible for the expungement/sealing off your record.
Can You Expunge a Felony in New York?
Expungement in New York is non-existent. Just a clarification, an expunged record is permanently erased but again, there is no provision to totally erase your criminal record in New York.
There are other ways you can get a fresh start in New York. You can seal your criminal records which means your records cannot be found by employers, landlords, mortgage lenders, or anyone else who wants to know what you have been doing in the last few years.
Records will still be available with a court order.
Can You Seal Your Criminal Record in New York?
It is possible to seal your record in New York. Note that expungement and sealing are not the same thing. Expungement destroys a record and sealing closes the document. Sealing can be reversed or your record can be temporarily accessed. Your record, even if it is sealed, is always available to the agency where you were charged, the parole board, the probation department, and the state registry of orders of protection.
CANNOT SEAL IF…
• You commit crimes for loitering with intent to cause harm.
• Prostitution, DUIs, court order in place to prevent the sealing.
• You have committed a violent crime.
• Marijuana possession cases that were criminal offenses or were pleaded are eligible for sealing three years after the crime.
How to Seal Your Criminal Record in New York
• Before you begin this process, we insist that you take this eligibility test to determine if you’re eligible to seal your record.
• If you are eligible, you should talk to the lawyer that we refer you to so that you get an idea of the price for their services (it’s likely cheaper than you think because expungements are mostly paperwork) and see what other helpful information they can give you.
• If you are not eligible to seal your record based on our test, then you should stop here.
• If you are eligible to seal your record based on our test and want to do this without a lawyer, continue reading.
• A Certificate of Relief from Disabilities and a Certificate of Good Conduct are necessary from the state that proves are rehabilitated, and eligible for record sealing. You must meet a waiting period for these certificates, which can be anywhere from three to five years from last conviction, the payment of your fine, or your release from prison.
• Get your criminal records and proof of completion of any rehabilitation program. Note that it could take months to get the complete records. The cost is $55.00 to $61.50.
• Mail the information from the Clerk of the Court plus the certificate, and a letter requesting your records to be sealed to: Division of Criminal Justice Services Sealed Records Unit 4 Tower Place Albany, NY 12203-3764
Can You Apply for a Pardon in New York?
A pardon can offer you hope in finding a job, housing, education or a loan. A pardon forgives a particular crime without actually clearing a criminal record. If you have a criminal conviction and you believe the sentence was too harsh or not deserved, you can apply for a pardon.
With a pardon you will be able to have your right to vote, hold public office and possibly own a firearm restored. Your felony conviction, however will be a part of the public record and it can be seen. Your conviction must be reported in any situation that requests prior criminal history. You can include your pardon certificate which will give you a “leg” up for jobs and housing.
CANNOT PARDON IF…
• You have not waited at least five years.
• You cannot prove that you were innocent.
• The governor declines your pardon.
How to Apply for a Pardon in New York
You will need criminal history documentation and letters from government or licensing authorities. You need a clean criminal record after the time of your initial conviction. Everything in your background will be looked at, and any hardships you are suffering will be taken into consideration.Getting a pardon in New York is difficult and the governor has the power to grant pardons. Conditions can be imposed and the Legislature will regulate how your pardon is granted.
• Before you begin this process, we insist that you take this eligibility test to determine if you’re eligible to request a pardon for your record. In most cases, if you are eligible for expungement on our test, then you’ll be eligible for a pardon.
• If you are eligible, you should talk to the lawyer that we refer you to so that you get an idea of the price for their services (it’s likely cheaper than you think because requesting a pardon is mostly paperwork) and see what other helpful information they can give you.
• If you are not eligible based on our test, then you should stop here.
• If you are eligible based on our test and want to do this without a lawyer, continue reading.
• There are no fees to apply for a pardon in New York. You will need to contact the Governor’s Office for the forms.Governor, State of New York Executive Chamber State Capitol6. Provide a letter from yourself and explain how you have changed your life. Write how your conviction has negatively affected you and your family. Explain how you have been denied housing, employment or a loan. Submit letters of recommendation. Submit transcripts, GED or high school diploma, military certificate honors and awards and other proof of your good character. Explain your future plans and how a pardon will help you accomplish these goals.
So, there you have it. Two separate ways to get rid of your record in New York. As we’ve said numerous times throughout this page, this is a really complicated process and we highly recommend that you take this eligibility test prior to taking any action to determine if you are eligible for any of these options.
Please note, the information contained here is not legal advice and is strictly informational and may be outdated. If you have any further questions about the information above, or in general, you need to contact a lawyer directly.