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New York’s new “Clean Slate Act”

by | Mar 28, 2024 | Criminal Law

Until recently, those convicted of a misdemeanor or felony – maybe one that happened years ago – had that conviction follow them for years, or decades, or even for the rest of their lives. But now, under New York’s new Clean Slate Act, courts must seal old convictions. A “sealed” conviction means that a person no longer has to disclose the conviction to employers when applying for a job, or to a school when applying for admission, and the conviction will not show up when undergoing a background check for housing.

To be eligible to have your conviction sealed, you must wait three years (for a misdemeanor conviction) or eight years (for a felony conviction), and the time starts running on the day you are sentenced (if you receive no jail time) or the day you’re released from custody. It’s important to note that you cannot have any new convictions during that waiting period, because that will restart the waiting period. Also, you cannot have any charges pending against you at the end of the waiting period, and cannot be on probation or parole. There are some jobs, like daycare workers, working with the elderly, or working for companies like Uber and Lyft, that are exempt from the Clean Slate Act and convictions will still show up on a background check.

The Clean Slate Act takes effect on November 16, 2024. Here’s a good website that will answer a lot of questions. But, if your conviction was supposed to be sealed but wasn’t, we may be able to help.