Can criminal records be sealed in New York?

Yes.  Criminal Procedure Law 160.50 allows for the sealing of criminal records, and the destruction of fingerprints, palmprints, photographs, proofs and copies thereof, when the outcome of the criminal case is "favorable to the defendant" and after the passage of time defined by law.  

Cases become favorable for sealing immediately upon a favorable finding of:

  • Acquittal
  • Outright dismissal
  • Upon dismissal after an Adjournment in Contemplation of Dismissal pursuant to CPL 170.55/170.56.
    Note: Abated by death is NOT a favorable disposition.

Cases become favorable for sealing three years after the crime occurred for fingerprintable cases reduced to Penal Law 221.05 (marijuana) for which there was a plea or conviction.


The information on this page is meant to provide a general overview of the law. The laws in your state and/or city may deviate significantly from those described here. If you have specific questions related to your situation you should speak with a local attorney.

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