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Changes in New York Criminal Conviction Sealing Law

Long Island DWI Attorney

Old New York DWI DWAI Conviction can be Sealed Starting October 2017

Under provisions of a new law passed in February of 2017, New York now allows old DWIs and other driving-related misdemeanors and some felonies to be sealed at the discretion of the court. The new law takes effect October 1, 2017 and is to be codified as § 160.59 of the New York Criminal Procedure Law.

This is important news for New York drivers. DWIs and criminal convictions often prevent citizens from gaining new employment or promotions. Sealing an old DWI could greatly improve your professional and financial situation.

To be eligible for sealing, you must satisfy two conditions:

  • Your DWI DWAI conviction or the end of any imprisonment must be more than 10 years old
  • You can only have two total criminal convictions with a maximum of one felony

Many crimes other than DWIs are eligible to be sealed. Some crimes are not eligible such as murder, Class A and violent felonies and sex-related crimes.

Note that your DWI records are not expunged. Expungement means deleted from the records. Rather, your DWI records are sealed meaning that the records will remain available to law enforcement, the courts and some licensing agencies but will be unavailable to a potential employer and the general public.


To apply to have your old DWI sealed, you and your attorney will file an Application For Sealing with the court in the county in which you were convicted. If you are applying to have more than one conviction sealed, then you will file your Application in the county in which you were convicted of the more serious crime.

The Application for Sealing must contain:

  • Sworn statement as to the DWI(s)/other conviction that you are seeking to seal
  • Copy of the conviction/certificate of disposition
  • Sworn statement of the reason(s) why the Court should grant such sealing
  • Sworn statement re: previous, pending and to-be-filed Applications for Sealing
  • Other supporting documentation

Filing fees will be required. A copy of your application must be served on the District Attorney’s Office and, within 45 days, the District Attorney will notify you and your Nassau County DWI Lawyer if there is an objection. If the District Attorney objects, an evidentiary hearing will be held. The court can also schedule a hearing even if the District Attorney does not object.

The Judge’s Discretion

As noted, the Application to have your DWI sealed will depend on the Judge’s discretion. The new law says that the Judge shall consider the following factors in exercising his or her discretion:

  • Amount of time since the most recent conviction
  • Seriousness of crime(s) for which sealing is sought and of other crimes
  • Character of the defendant
  • Participation in treatment programs, schooling, community service, etc.
  • Victim statements, if any
  • Character statements, if supplied
  • Impact of sealing on defendant’s rehabilitation
  • Impact of sealing generally on public safety, respect for the law, etc.

As can be seen, a successful Application For Sealing will be complicated. Clearly, having affidavits and statements from family, clergy, friends, and employers may significantly increase your chances of success.

Contact a Long Island DWI Attorney Today

To learn more about Applications For Sealing, including procedures, forms and eligibility, call an experienced Long Island DWI attorney at 888-DUI-Lawyer. We can help you understand your options and can help you prepare your application. Call today at 888-384-5299. We offer no cost/no obligation consultations. You can also use contact us online.


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