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New York Governor Signs Law Sealing Millions of Criminal Records From Public View

by Douglas Ankney

In late 2023, New York Governor Kathy Hochul signed the Clean Slate Act into law, permitting millions of criminal convictions to be sealed. “With the signing of this law, it adds to our momentum to get people back to work, give them those opportunities,” said Hochul.

Under the Clean Slate Act’s provisions, criminal convictions in the state of New York will automatically be sealed from public view once the convicted person completes a waiting period after incarceration (set at three years for misdemeanors; eight years for felonies). Sealing of the records means they are hidden from potential employers and housing providers.

However, sex offenses and Class A felonies are excluded from the Clean Slate Act. Furthermore, some state, local, and federal agencies will be permitted to view the sealed records in limited circumstances. And “[s]chools, police agencies, and facilities dealing with vulnerable groups will also have access to sealed convictions for employment purposes.” The Clean Slate Act becomes effective in November 2024 with the New York State Office of Court Administration having up to three years to seal all eligible records.   





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