How is a criminal record expunged in New York?

Unlike other states, New York does not allow criminal records to be expunged. This means records of arrests and convictions cannot be permanently erased.

New York uses a process called sealing in which criminal records can be hidden from public viewing. General record sealing is available for a wide range of criminal convictions depending on certain factors. However, some convictions such as sex offenses and class A felonies are not eligible for sealing.

Although the criminal record still exists, sealing allows certain parts of it — like DNA samples, fingerprints and photos — to be returned to the individual or destroyed. Sealed records can be viewed by law enforcement agencies, employers for jobs that require employees to carry a firearm, and other authorized entities such as hospitals and schools.

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