Does a crime still go on my record even if I am cleared of it?

New York State does not allow criminal records to be expunged or permanently destroyed even though an individual is not found guilty of charges. Although criminal records cannot be physically destroyed, most of them can be sealed, which means they are hidden from public inspection.

Records may qualify for sealing when the criminal case is settled in a person’s favor by dismissal, acquittal, declined prosecution or other similar circumstances. Sealing a record involves destroying related photos, fingerprints, DNA samples and other forms of proof.

Record sealing prevents the case from being used against the individual in many circumstances. However, sealed records can still be accessed by entities such as firearm licensing agencies, law enforcement, schools, child care agencies and hospitals.

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