SEALING UNIT

Too often, the collateral consequences people suffer from past criminal convictions are devastating and disproportionate to the underlying offense. These consequences can undermine public safety, holding back people now living law-abiding, productive lives from the stability of employment, housing and other opportunities. These consequences are often unfair for they do not represent the people they are today.

The Sealing Unit encourages and facilitates applications to seal criminal convictions under Criminal Procedure Law §160.59, the New York State statute that went into effect in October 2017. The Unit initiated a collaboration with the Office of Court Administration, prosecutors and defense attorneys, to create a user-friendly application so that individuals can apply for sealing on their own. The Unit also works with the DA’s Office of Public Engagement to spread the word in our communities, to encourage more applications and to help resolve them expeditiously.

Forms for CPL §160.59 Sealing Applications
Application to Seal a Conviction After 10 Years: Notice of Motion and Affidavit in Support of Sealing Pursuant to CPL §160.59, Affidavit of Service and Instructions

Request for Criminal Certificate of Disposition for CPL §160.59 Sealing Application

Frequently Asked Questions About Sealing Criminal Records Under CPL §160.59

What does it mean for a conviction to be sealed?

When a conviction is sealed, it is no longer accessible to the general public and will not show up in background checks by prospective employers, housing agencies or other non-law enforcement organizations. The conviction will still be visible to agencies conducting background checks for gun licenses or gun purchases, state or federal law enforcement agencies acting within the scope of their law enforcement duties and to a prospective employer if you apply for a position as a peace officer or a police officer.

Do I need an attorney to get my case(s) sealed?

No. The application has clear instructions on how to complete it. You will need to have it notarized and should be sure to include any materials that you feel support your application. Detailed instructions can be found here.

What if I do not currently live in Brooklyn?

As long as the conviction you are applying to seal occurred in Brooklyn (Kings County Criminal or Supreme Court) you can mail your application to the court and the District Attorney’s Office.  Detailed instructions on how to do so can be found here.

Will I need to appear in court to have my case sealed?

In most cases, you will not need to come to court. The court will decide the motion once they have your application and the District Attorney’s response.  In cases where an applicant is eligible, but the District Attorney opposes the motion, there will be a hearing and you will be given the opportunity to appear but will not be required to do so.

Is my case too old to seal?

No. The only requirement is that at least ten years have passed since your date of sentence (excluding any time spent incarcerated).

How do I know if my conviction is for a crime that is eligible to be sealed?

Sex offenses, sexual performance by a child offenses, homicide offenses, violent felony offenses, class A felonies, attempts to commit ineligible offenses and conspiracies to commit ineligible offenses are not eligible to be sealed.  A list of offenses that are NOT eligible for sealing can be found in the application on pages 1-3 of the itemized form instructions.

*Please note that convictions for Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the Third Degree, PL-265.02 (4), prior to 2007 are not eligible for sealing.

Can I seal a felony conviction?

Yes, as long as it is for an eligible felony conviction. A list of crimes that are NOT eligible for sealing can be found on pages 1-3 of the itemized form instructions.

*Please note that convictions for Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the Third Degree, PL-265.02 (4), prior to 2007 are not eligible for sealing.

When can I apply to have my conviction sealed?

You can apply after ten years from the date you were sentenced, excluding any time spent incarcerated.  In other words, add any amount of time spent incarcerated to the 10-year-period.  For example, if you were sentenced on October 1, 2013, and were sentenced to probation or anything else that did not include jail time, you can apply to have your case sealed on October 1, 2023.  If you were sentenced and spent two years in jail, you can apply on October 1, 2025.

How long does the process take?

Depending on when it is scheduled to be heard in court, approximately 8 – 12 weeks.

Does it cost anything to have my case(s) sealed?

A certificate of disposition is required for each conviction you apply to seal.  It costs $10 for each certificate of disposition.  The form to order a certificate of disposition can be found here.