Saturday, September 9, 2017

You're Finally Able to Seal Your DWI: What Must You Know?

Texas and New York Now Have
DWI Sealing, Yay!

Texas just passed a criminal record sealing law similar to New York's. They call their law the "Second Chance" bill. I kinda like that because imho everyone deserves a second chance.

Up until October 2017 New York offered nothing to clear records for those with past DWI criminal convictions.  The only sealing of records was for non-criminal violations, and for  special case situations for drug crimes with proof of rehabilitation.

Often a DWI charge would effect your future ability to gain employment, obtain a state occupational license, or even get an internship. Up until this year New York had no expungement, and no sealing for DWI criminal convictions. We don't have expungement but in October 1, 2017 we do have a close second, sealing of your past DWI.
New York's new broad record sealing law will enable you to seal a misdemeanor and a felony DWI. The new sealing statute also modifies Executive Law so that you do not have to disclose your DWI when applying for  an employment position or an occupational license.

DWI non-disclosure is now available in New York State.

Here's all you need to know about New York Sealing Law 160.59.

The Sealing Bill was Part of the 2017-2018 Budget Bill

In April 2017 Governor Cuomo signed into law the latest budget bill. Inside the budget bill was a modification to two statutes: the sealing law and the executive law on unlawful disclosure. This new legislation expanded the current sealing law to have a provision section 160.59. This permitted the sealing of criminal convictions including DWI.

This made it possible for all DWI offenders including those with felony level convictions of being cleared. A New York DWI does not have to follow you for the rest of your life.

The Sealing Law Also Modified the Law by Protecting Sealed Record Disclosure

In addition, the modification to executive law provided for protection against forced disclosure to anyone, with a few exceptions for weapon permits and law enforcement applications.

The New York State Human Rights Law, N.Y. Exec. Law § 296(16) was amended concurrent with the enactment of the sealing authority, prohibiting public and private employers and occupational licensing agencies from asking about, or taking adverse action (i.e., denying employment or licensure) because of, a sealed conviction. 
Meaning a public or private employer or a state licensing agency cannot even ask about your sealed criminal conviction on an application or in an interview. There will be NO inquiry into your sealed criminal convictions by LAW.

Getting your record sealed is a process. A court order signed by a judge is necessary to seal these records. Most DWI convictions and many other criminal convictions will qualify for sealing under the new law but before you get too excited you MUST know a few fundamentals.

The Fundamentals of Sealing Your New York Criminal DWI Conviction 

1. If you are looking to seal any criminal conviction you must make an application. 
Sealing is something you must motion the court for it doesn't happen without action.

2. Your application must give reasons why you deserve sealing.
Did you complete any rehabilitation, treatment program, AA sessions, educational program, relapse prevention? Gather as much proof of these as possible to bolster the application. 

3. Must take care of any outstanding court issues? 
Unpaid fines or surcharges, pay them.
Do you have any outstanding obligations? 
Did you satisfy all Community service hours? 
Did you satisfy your Ignition Interlock Device requirement?

4. Must wait ten years. Sealing can begin for those sentenced October 1, 2007 and earlier. Sealing can occur ten years after sentencing or ten years plus time spent in custody. If you were incarcerated this time needs to be added to the ten years.

What is Covered by Sealing Your New York DWI 

When your DWI is sealed in New York, the law will then block your DWI from your public record. Then, potential employers and licensing agencies won’t be able to see it when they run your name against a preliminary background check. This allows you to check “no” when asked if you have ever been convicted of a crime on your employment applications as well as occupational license applications. 

While the new sealing law isn’t quite the same as a complete expungement, a sealed record still means that your DWI charge/conviction is protected from lower level public records. Your past conviction and arrest would only be disclosed to government agencies. 

The Process of Applying for Record Sealing

If you believe you satisfy the basic fundamentals to seal your DWI or other criminal conviction, congrats! You and your lawyer will now need to request an order of sealing from the courts along with proof of the reasons why you deserve to have your past sealed from public view. Once the court is satisfied with the provided evidence, and approve a sealing order you will be on your way to clearing your record. Sealing contested by the DA or if the judge wants to hear in court proof then your sealing will likely require a court hearing. A fresh start and a new beginning to job and license opportunities waits from having your past DWI sealed.

Are You Ready For a Fresh Start?

Although New York DWIs will not ever be expunged, drivers who meet the mentioned qualifications can and should pursue having their charges sealed. If you’re either ready to move on with your life or aren’t sure about whether your qualifications are met, contact Newman and Cyr to get the ball rolling. We’ll analyze the factors at play in your case and help you seal your record smoothly should your case meet the full requirements.

Don’t spend another day hiding from your past.

Lawrence Newman is a partner in Newman and Cyr which focuses on DWI and criminal defense in the Fingerlakes region of New York State. contact

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