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A person if arrested, charged or convicted of a crime, may have to face a series of negative implications in his life, especially during buying or renting a home, getting a job, or getting a loan. Expungement or record sealing gives such a person a second chance to life.

Expungement and sealing of record are different terms even though they may seem to be the same. Expungement means erasing a record, whereas sealing only closes the document. Thus, sealing of a document can be reversed or temporarily re-opened by a court. In New York, expungement is not available, but record sealing is. For offenders who were at least 16 years old, but under 19 years old when they had committed the crime, can be eligible for automatic record sealing once their cases are settled. However, the sealed document may be available to the institution where the person was committed, the parole office, the probation department, and the state registry of orders of protection If a person’s case is settled in his/her favor through acquittal, outright dismissal, dismissal after adjournments in contemplation of dismissal, declined prosecution, or nolle prosequi, then he/she is eligible for sealing his/her records. In this case the photos, copies, fingerprints and other proofs are destroyed in a complete sealing. The non-criminal offenders like a person convicted for disorderly behavior, are also eligible for automatic sealing of his/her documents. Apart from this, if a person is convicted of marijuana possession, then he/she is eligible for sealing of records for three years after the occurrence of the crime. In case of misdemeanor or felony cases that involve traffic infractions or violations, a partial seal can be applied. This means fingerprints and photographs are sealed, but the file is still a public record.

Certain crimes such as loitering with intention to engage in deviant sexual activity, prostitution, driving while impaired, or where a court order is in place to prevent the sealing or a violent crime; are not eligible for sealing.

If a person wants to seal his/her record, he/she must file a motion with the court. If the court approves the petition for sealing the documents, only then all the records will be sealed. If the court challenges the petition for sealing the documents, then he/she may have to provide additional information and proof for sealing off the records.

To make sure that you get the best possible outcome, reach out to a criminal attorney for consultation. Contact Aditya Surti Esq. at 201-518-6642201-518-6642201-518-6642 to schedule an appointment at the Jersey City Office or at 732-750-1269732-750-1269732-750-1269 to schedule an appointment at the Woodbridge Office. You can also email us at to schedule an appointment. Appointments can be available on weekends and nights and evenings.