Process to Sealing Criminal Records in New York

Sealable Records: The records relating to dispositions in your favor, violations or traffic infractions are automatically sealed—without you having to do anything. Records for drug-related convictions are not automatically sealed; instead a petition with the court must be filed.

If your record should have been sealed but was not, then there are 3 simple steps to get it done.

  1. Get a copy of your criminal record (rap sheet) online from one of the 2 agencies below. The cost ranges between $55.00 and $61.50.
    Division of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS) at: http://www.criminaljustice.state.ny.us/ojis/recordreview.htm. This is a fingerprint based search and is only available to you or your attorney. Both sealed and unsealed information will be listed on it and marked accordingly.
    New York Unified Court System site at: http://www.nycourts.gov/apps/chrs/. This is not a fingerprint based search and so may not be as accurate as the one conducted by the DCJS. This shows your record as an employer will see it.
  2. Take a copy of your record to the court where you were convicted (it will be listed on the record). Address, phone number, and hours of operation to the New York courts may be found at: http://www.courts.state.ny.us/litigants/courtguides/index.shtml
    Ask the clerk of the court for an "official disposition slip". Make sure that it has a seal on it. There is typically a $10.00 - $15.00 fee for this.
  3. Mail the slip, along with a letter explaining that you want to have your case sealed, to the following address:
    Division of Criminal Justice Services Sealed Records Unit 4 Tower Place Albany, NY 12203-3764

In approximately 12 weeks your record should be sealed. You will not automatically be notified of this. You must confirm with DCJS that your record has been sealed by contacting them at the above address.

Special Cases:

  1. If you have a sealable case in Manhattan Criminal Court, go to the court clerk with your ID and a docket number, and request that your case be sealed. The clerk will then fill out the necessary papers and file them with the court. For the court(s) contact information go to: http://www.courts.state.ny.us/courts/nyc/criminal/index.shtml
  2. If your case was a decline prosecution ("nolle prosequi"), there are no court records. Instead, you go to the District Attorney's office to get an "Affidavit in Support of Declining/Deferring Prosecution" (sometimes called a "343 Dismissal Form"). Once you get it, fill it out and mail to the DCJS along with a letter requesting that your arrest record be sealed. The letter must contain your full name, address and Social Security number.
  3. On pre- November 1991 convictions, the court that convicted you had to send a Sealing Order directing the DCJS to seal a case. If your case was eligible to be sealed but was not, then the steps to getting it done are a bit more complicated.

You will have to:

  1. Get a copy of your criminal record (as described above).
  2. Call the Clerk of the court of the county where you were convicted, as listed on your record. (A list of the courts, their addresses and phone numbers are available online (click http://www.courts.state.ny.us/litigants/courtguides/index.shtml.) Ask the clerk what the procedures are to get a record sealed in that specific court. (Every court sets up its own local procedures.) Some counties require a letter; others want you to prepare a "Sealing Motion". Make sure you know how your county does it.

    If you have multiple matters on your criminal record, you will have to go to each court to seal your record. In other words, you do not simply bring one request/motion before the clerk to seal your entire criminal history.

  3. The clerk and the DA have to get a copy of your letter or Sealing Motion. Check with the Clerk to see if they will get a copy to the DA; if the clerk does not, you must.
  4. The District Attorney has at least 5 days to object to the sealing. If the District Attorney's office does not act, the court may proceed with a ruling. Depending on the court you may or may not have to personally appear.

If the court grants your sealing request/motion, it will send a sealing order to DCJS. The sealing of your record can be confirmed with the DCJS in approximately 12 weeks.

For more information on sealing criminal records in New York, click on the following articles:

Overview of Expunging /Clearing Your Criminal Record in New York State

Sealing of Adult Criminal Records in New York

Sealing of Juvenile Records in New York

Alternatives To Sealing Your Criminal Record in New York: Certificate of Relief from Civil Disabilities or Certificate of Good Conduct

Do I Need An Attorney To Seal My Criminal Record in New York?