Theft crimes in New York are found in a variety of statutes. Some are clearly designated theft offenses such as either Petit Larceny and Grand Larceny. Similarly, Criminal Possession of Stolen Property and Theft of Services relate directly to a larceny or theft crime. However, there are many other crimes in the New York Penal Law that are not clearly theft offenses. For example, Scheme to Defraud does not have “theft” or “larceny” in the title of the statute, but it too is a theft and larceny crime. With this in mind, it begs the question, if you were convicted of a New York Penal Law Article 155 crime, New York Penal Law Article 165 crime, New York Penal Law Article 140 crime, New York Penal Law Article 160 crime or a even an Article 1800 New York State Tax Crime offense that related only to a theft are larceny are you guaranteed eligibility pursuant to New York Criminal Procedure Law 160.59 to have your criminal conviction “expunged” or sealed assuming you have met the other strict eligibility requirements?
Can I have my felony conviction sealed in New York? Will New York expunge a felony regardless of the arrest charge? Do criminal records – misdemeanor or felony – remain open to the public forever? What if I am convicted of a non-violent theft crime? Is there a way to screen or hide this record or conviction? More specifically, what if I stole or embezzled $7,500.00, $75,000.00 or even $750,000.00 from an employer? Now that you have asked the questions, the answer to these inquiries are all found in New York Criminal Procedure Law 160.59.
NY CPL 160.59, New York’s sealing statute, does not provide for expunging or expungement of criminal convictions, but allows people with certain eligible criminal convictions to have those cases sealed on and from their records. Subject to many relevant factors and mandatory requirements that can be vetted with your New York expungment or sealing attorney, Grand Larceny, New York Penal Law sections 155.30, 155.35, 155.40 and 155.42, is a statutorily eligible offense.
A question that I routinely field as a criminal defense attorney and sealing lawyer in New York is whether or not a mistake made in one’s youth relating to a conviction for petty theft, stolen property, shoplifting or larceny can be sealed or expunged later in life. Although there is no short answer to the question, the answer is both yes and no. Yes, New York now permits or allows a person convicted of Petit Larceny, Fifth Degree Criminal Possession of Stolen Property, New York Penal Law 155.25, New York Penal Law 165.40 and other crimes relating to shoplifting to have those offenses sealed as of October 2017. However, the answer still remains a firm “no” as to expunging these crimes. Despite this lack of expungement, however, because New York Criminal Procedure Law 160.59 is fairly expansive as to sealing, the potential value of a motion to seal pursuant to NY Crim. Pro. Law 160.59 cannot and should not be overlooked by anyone who wants to shield themselves from their criminal past. In fact, a successful application for sealing pursuant to NY CPL 160.59 can “block” the prying eyes of potential public or private employers.