New York State Will Now Automatically Seal People’s Criminal Records
Both the New York State Assembly and Senate have passed the Clean Slate Act. Now, many people will have their criminal records automatically sealed. As long as the person stays out of trouble, their criminal conviction won't be accessible to employers, landlords, and others.
The Clean Act Bill was designed to stop certain criminal offenses from holding certain offenders back as they try to move forward in life,
Individuals who commit a crime and later pay their debt to society should not be perpetually burdened by a criminal record. Having a criminal record impedes one's ability to obtain housing, secure work, and participate fully in modern society. We cannot expect successful rehabilitation without providing these individuals with a way forward that is not encumbered by their past mistakes. This act will allow for automatic sealing of certain criminal records to clear that path.
If signed into law by Governor Kathy Hochul, the Clean Slate Act will amend the criminal procedure law, the executive law, the correction law, the judiciary law, and the civil rights law in New York State. It will take effect one year after is signed into law.
How Does The Clean Slate Act Work?
While the act will stop many people from accessing a person's criminal record, there are exemptions. In certain instances, a criminal record can be unsealed,
These relevant and necessary purposes include but are not limited to determining suitability for licensing, employment and similar activities where federal or state law requires a criminal background check be performed prior to granting licenses to or employing individuals in certain jobs, such as employment with children, elderly populations, or other vulnerable populations, as well as where federal or state law authorizes a criminal background check to be performed prior to the same type of employment or similar activity.
People with traffic or other eligible misdemeanor crimes will have their records automatically sealed after three years, provided they commit no other crime. The waiting period is eight years for felony crimes. If a person does commit another crime before the waiting period, the time will restart.
People who commit sexual offenses or Class A felonies will not be eligible to have their records sealed.