Proposed Legislation Could Expunge Criminal Records for Rochester Residents

Recently proposed legislation in New York could seal criminal records for Rochester, NY residents, according to a recent article in the Rochester City Newspaper. Indeed, as the article explains, New York State lawmakers currently are “considering a measure that would seal conviction records for up to 2 million New Yorkers who have committed serious crimes and served time in prison for them.” The proposed legislation follows on the heels of recently passed legislation concerning the legalization of recreational marijuana for adult use and the expungement of criminal records related to marijuana convictions that would not currently result in criminal charges under the law.

While it is not yet clear whether the legislation will pass as it is written, many parties who testified about the proposed legislation appear to be in favor of some form of expungement provision for Rochester and other New York State residents with criminal records. In the meantime, a Rochester criminal defense attorney can help.

Two-Step Process in Proposed “Clean Slate” Legislation

According to the article, the proposed legislation would establish a two-step process of first automatically sealing and then expunging conviction records upon completion of a sentence. Proponents of the legislation plan to complete their work on it prior to the end of the session in June, and they note that other states “have adopted similar laws,” including Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Utah.

The way the process would work is this: one year after the person’s last misdemeanor criminal conviction and completion of a sentence, the record would be automatically sealed, and the automatic sealing would apply after three years for felony convictions and sentences. However, the law would not apply to anyone who is still on probation or parole, and it would not apply to anyone who is facing new criminal charges. Anyone who is on the sex offender registry would also be ineligible. Five years after the completion of a misdemeanor sentence, the record would be automatically expunged, and the same would be true seven years after a felony conviction and sentence. Again, the expungement would only be possible if a person is not on probation or parole, facing pending charges, or on the sex offender registry.

Pros and Cons of the Bill

The proposed legislation is known as a “Clean Slate” bill, which is ultimately designed to help ensure that New Yorkers with criminal convictions are able to find jobs and places to live without fear of or concerns about the effects of their criminal records. It is ultimately designed, as the name of the bill suggests, to provide a “clean state” for people with criminal convictions. The proponents of the bill emphasize how having a criminal record can have long-term effects even once a sentence has been completed, making it difficult for people with criminal records and convictions to be eligible for certain professional opportunities, as well as to rent houses or apartments in certain places.

Those in opposition to the full terms of the bill include Albany County District Attorney David Soares, who says that “some offenses are too serious to be automatically expunged,” according to the article. Yet Soares has said that certain convictions should be automatically sealed and expunged, suggesting that a version of the legislation may pass.

Contact a Rochester Criminal Defense Lawyer

If you have questions about your eligibility for record sealing or expungement, or if you need help fighting the criminal charges you are currently facing, you should seek advice from our Rochester criminal defense attorneys as soon as possible. Contact King Law today for more information.


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