Sherburne, NY asked in Criminal Law for New York

Q: Can I seal a UPM charge in New York State if I plead guilty to it at the time?

I received an unlawful possession of marijuana charge when I was 18. I was young, naive, & scared so I plead guilty to it & paid the fine. Now I am wondering if it is possible to go back to the court & try to have it sealed? I never even had a trial for it. If I had, I strongly think it would have been dismissed or at least reduced. It’s been 3 years since the charge & my record is clean besides this charge.

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1 Lawyer Answer
Benjamin Ostrer
Benjamin Ostrer
  • Criminal Law Lawyer
  • Chester, NY
  • Licensed in New York

A: When someone originally charged with a crime (felony or misdemeanor) resolves the case with a violation or "petty offense" CPL 160.55 requires that fingerprint records and law enforcement records relating to the case be sealed however court records are not sealed. Where the charges are dismissed or the result of an acquittal the court records are sealed. CPL 160.50(1) with 160.55(1)( c). Aside from Criminal Procedure Law, Judges have the inherent authority to seal court records including records in criminal cases when they find appropriate grounds to do so. In the absence of a judge's order expressly sealing a criminal case file, the courts will seal only in cases of acquittals or dismissals.

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