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Zoey_ JD
Zoey_ JD, JustAnswer Criminal Law Mentor
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 27705
Experience:  Admitted to NYS Criminal defense bar in 1989. Extensive arraignment, hearing, trial experience.
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Sealing a 1973 conviction,19 years old NYS,restitution and 1

Customer Question

sealing a 1973 conviction,19 years old NYS,restitution and 1 year probation,white color
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Criminal Law
Expert:  Zoey_ JD replied 1 year ago.


My name is ***** ***** I am a New York criminal defense attorney.

Unfortunately, New York does not seal criminal convictions. So if you've already gotten a certificate of relief, that's possibly the most you'll be able to accomplish. There is one other option, which would require a lawyer and which may or may not be successful for you. That's to have your lawyer petition the court to reopen your old case and have it dismissed in the interest of justice. In NYS this is called a Clayton motion.

Judges have the power to dismiss a case under their powers of equity, even if the law itself won't provide dismissal. They are very cautious and sparing in their use of this power, and some will refuse to entertain a petition on these grounds at all. But others will do it to prevent an injustice.

You would need to talk to a lawyer about bringing a Clayton motion. It's a complex motion and he will have to draft it essentially showing why the law under which you were originally convicted should be ignored in your particular case. You can expect opposition from the DA and perhaps even from the complainant if he or she is available for comment. So you might want to get some free or low cost consultations to determine how likely this is to work in front of your judge before you pay a couple of thousand dollars to a lawyer to try to get this done. What you have going for you is that it's a very old conviction and if you've been in no further difficulty with the law since then, that in and of itself may provide a compelling argument for equitable relief.

It is a longshot. If you can get the case dismissed, however, then the state would automatically seal the matter and you could finally get it off of your record.