In most cases, New York only allows arrest records to be sealed if the action was “terminated in favor of the defendant.” Thus, if you were found not guilty or if your case was dismissed, then you qualify for an expungement that will effectively erase your arrest record.
No Expungement for Convictions
In almost all other cases, New York does not allow expungement or sealing of records when there has been a conviction. However, convictions for some non-criminal offenses (infractions) may be sealed or expunged. Generally, this is limited to minor traffic violations.
Sealing of Records
Once you obtain an expungement, you are automatically entitled to have these records sealed unless a demonstration can be made that “the interests of justice” dictate otherwise. Most requests are usually granted as a matter of course.
Once the decision has been made to expunge an arrest record, all physical copies will either be returned to you or destroyed. Some digital copies may be retained by New York courts and law enforcement agencies.
Consulting an Attorney
A qualified criminal defense lawyer can provide you more information if there is a legal basis for your expungement. Moreover, the lawyer can help you file the appropriate paperwork, and advocate on your behalf.