Do I Need An Attorney To Seal My Criminal Record in New York?
UPDATED: March 10, 2020
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Having a criminal record (also called "a rap sheet") can have a serious and lasting impact on the lives of you and your family. If you have a criminal record, it can sabotage your efforts to obtain certain occupational licenses, approvals for loans, security clearances, housing, student loans, citizenship, and the right to vote. Even a conviction for a seemingly minor matter can pop up on an employment background check. Aside from the embarrassment, it can cost you your job or promotion. And this can happen each and every time that you have to fill out a job application. Wouldn't it be nice to be able to answer "No" to an employer when asked about having a criminal history?
Whether or not you need an attorney to help you seal your record only you can decide. You can certainly undertake the sealing of your criminal record yourself (called "pro-se"). Many people can and do. However, this is a tedious and time-consuming process. There are some very technical requirements that must be met in order for you to be successful. The slightest mistake in court documents or other paperwork can cost you weeks or months of precious time. Additionally, if you no longer live in the state you will be required to travel back, perhaps more than once, to handle the process. When all things are considered, you may just feel more comfortable hiring an attorney to help you.
A lawyer that specializes in these cases will be familiar with the all of the numerous eligibility requirements and procedures of New York's laws regarding sealing criminal records. These requirements and procedures are not only complicated but they also vary from county to county. An experienced attorney will be in the best position to help you to overcome the social stigma and barriers that having a criminal record can create. Clearing your record will finally allow you to move on with your life. The cost for legal representation on a matter such as this varies, but is some cases may be for as little as a few hundred dollars. Money well spent when you consider what else it may cost you.
For a comprehensive listing of criminal lawyers in New York State, click http://attorneypages.com/524NY/index.htm.
For more information on sealing criminal records in New York, click on the following articles: