New York Clean Slate Bill May Receive Support From Assembly

New York Clean Slate
April 4, 2023

Recently, New York has started considering a new Clean Slate bill to help many people with criminal records. If you have a criminal record, you probably know the challenges it causes when obtaining a job or housing. To help with this, the lawmakers introduced the bill, which has seen increased statehouse support. It will be one of the resolutions that will be part of the negotiations for the upcoming budget. Though it also has support in the Assembly, many supporters worry it still does not have enough to pass.

Should it pass, it would help people with crimes not related to sexual offenses and who have not had subsequent arrests. For example, individuals with misdemeanors can expect the courts to seal these records three years after the sentencing or release. In contrast, someone with a felony would have their record sealed seven years after they were sentenced or released from incarceration.

However, the bill has exceptions concerning who can access these records. For example, employers that work with vulnerable populations may check applicants’ criminal records. Examples of vulnerable populations include children, people with disabilities, and older adults. Other exceptions include allowing the courts, police departments, criminal defense attorneys, and prosecutors to check the records.

Passing the Clean Slate bill has other benefits than improving job and housing opportunities. This bill could increase a person’s chances of getting into college or obtaining licenses or certificates. These opportunities would also allow them to improve their ability to support themselves and family.

Before this bill, New York passed another in 2017 that allowed individuals with criminal histories to petition for sealed records. However, the court could seal up to two conviction charges. Furthermore, few people took advantage of this opportunity. As a result, supporters of the Clean Slate Act claimed it had too limited benefits.

Some opponents of this bill believe that criminal records should remain open. They argue that keeping the records open allows employers to make informed decisions about the best candidates for their open positions. As such, it remains uncertain whether the bill will pass through both chambers. In addition, it is unknown whether the Governor will sign it.

Should this bill pass and you qualify for its benefits, you do not need to petition the court. However, you must complete the waiting period without incurring additional offenses. Once the time has passed, you should run a self-background check to ensure the offenses no longer appear on your record.

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