FAQ: Can I have my conviction sealed after a certain amount of time?

While many states “seal” or “expunge” many convictions after a certain period of time or after completing a special process, a New York or federal conviction does not have such a system. Unfortunately, this means that a New York or federal conviction, no matter how much time passes, can haunt you for the rest of your life.

One of the few situations a conviction may come off your record is if the conviction is “reversed” on an appeal. This requires an arduous legal process and paperwork, usually requiring the defense to prove that the conviction was somehow obtained unlawfully. Additionally, most of the time the appeal must be filed within a very short time from when you were formally convicted, usually 30 days.

Unless there is a very special circumstance, there are very few avenues, if any, to completely remove a conviction from your record. This can be very harmful when applying for jobs or certain permits or licenses that run background checks. That is why it is important to have a good legal defense at the outset to avoid both a misdemeanor and felony conviction in the first place whenever possible.

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