When the marijuana decriminalization law in New York went into effect on August 29, 2019, more than 200,000 people with previous low-level marijuana-related convictions had their criminal records automatically sealed—without first petitioning the court.
Additionally, approximately 24,409 people will no longer have a criminal record.
Any person who has been convicted of possession of marijuana (Class B misdemeanor) or unlawful marijuana possession will have those convictions wiped away from their records. However, if people wish to have the actual records destroyed, they need to petition the court where they were originally convicted.
According to the new law, law enforcement cannot arrest or prosecute anyone who possess up to two ounces of cannabis. Instead, a maximum $50 fine is issued if a person possesses less than one ounce of marijuana, or a maximum $200 fine if a person carries up to two ounces.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said the bill was a beginning of a “new chapter” in the state’s criminal justice system. He claims people of color—specifically African Americans and Latinx Americans—have been unjustly affected by the state’s previous marijuana laws and making possession of cannabis punishable by a fine helps them avoid being subject to criminal prosecution.
Whether you are charged with a misdemeanor or a felony, having a criminal conviction on your permanent record can have a negative impact on your life, making it extremely hard to get a job, find a place to live, or attend college. When a criminal record is sealed, the public cannot view it and your conviction won’t appear on any criminal background checks.
For more information about drug crimes and record sealing in Rochester, contact King Law today at (585) 270-8882 and schedule a free case review.