The Legal Aid Society can assist with wrongful convictions, applications for commutation and pardon, and the sealing of past criminal records.
The Wrongful Conviction Unit was created to address the population of prisoners who have exhausted all possible avenues of defense and are still fighting for their freedom and to clear their names of crimes they did not commit.
The Criminal Appeals Bureau prepares commutation applications for eligible clients — individuals with excellent institutional records who have served more than half of their minimum term and are more than a year away from parole eligibility. CAB also prepares pardon applications for clients who have rehabilitated themselves but are facing deportation.
The Case Closed Project can help seal your criminal record. Under the current law, if you have two or fewer total convictions in New York (including up to one felony), and the convictions are more than 10 years old, you may be eligible to have your records sealed.
The Exploitation Intervention Project works with trafficking survivors to help them vacate prostitution-related convictions and seal the records of those arrests. If you were convicted of a prostitution-related offense when you were under the age of 18 or if your conviction was the result of force, fraud, or coercion, you may be eligible to have your record sealed.
If you are innocent and have exhausted all appeals for a conviction in New York City, write to The Wrongful Conviction Unit and request our questionnaire to be considered for representation:
The Wrongful Conviction Unit
c/o The Legal Aid Society
199 Water Street
New York, NY 10038
Or email: email@example.com
Individuals who believe they qualify for clemency should apply online with the Governor’s Office. The site contains instructions and forms for applying for commutations and pardons.
To find out if you are eligible to have a criminal record sealed fill out our online questionnaire, call 212-298-3120 or email CaseClosed@legal-aid.org.
To find out if The Exploitation Intervention Project is able to assist you in having your prostitution-related convictions vacated and the records sealed, contact Leigh Latimer at 646-385-5025 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Under New York’s 2021 legalization law, several old and new penal law marijuana convictions will be automatically expunged. You will get this benefit if you were convicted of possessing up to 16 oz or selling up to 25 grams.
There is nothing that you need to do to make this happen. It is free and automatic.
The state has two years to implement the expungement, BUT if you have an expungeable PL 221 offense it is already being suppressed and it should NOT show up on a background check.
On February 2, 2021, the New York legislature repealed the loitering for the purposes of prostitution statute, commonly called the “Walking While Trans Ban.” This means loitering for the purposes of prostitution is no longer a criminal offense in New York, and the records of past convictions will be sealed automatically.
Under a recent New York State law (CPL § 160.59), some people may be able to get their criminal convictions sealed. Here’s what you should know about the new sealing law and the sealing process.
Under a recent New York State law (CPL § 160.59), some people may be able to get their criminal convictions sealed. Here’s what you should know after your conviction has been sealed.
In New York, most employers and agencies can only deny you a job or license because of your criminal conviction if there’s a direct connection between the work and the offense or if giving you the job or license would involve an unreasonable risk to people or property. Here’s what you should know to prevent wrongful discrimination.
The justice system can be overwhelming. Get familiar with some legal terms and acronyms you might hear like appeal, adjournment, petition, jurisdiction, deposition, and affidavit.
Last Updated: 11 June 2020
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