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ACKNOWLEDGMENT This booklet was made possible through the generous support of the New York State Legislature

and the New York State Division of Probation and Correctional Alternatives. First Edition 1993 Second Edition 1994 Third Edition 1996 Fourth Edition 1999 Fifth Edition 2001 Sixth Edition 2003 Seventh Edition 2007 Copyright 2007 All rights reserved. Legal Action Center of the City of New York, Inc. 225 Varick Street, New York, NY 10014 Phone: (212) 243-1313 Fax: (212) 675-0286 Web: http://www.lac.org

HOW TO GET AND CLEAN UP YOUR NEW YORK STATE RAP SHEET

TABLE OF CONTENTS
ACKNOWLEDGEMENT. 2 INTRODUCTION. 6 RAP SHEETS. 7 WHO CAN SEE YOUR DCJS RAP SHEET?................................................................................................... 8 OFFICE OF COURT ADMINISTRATION RAP SHEETS.. 10 WHY SHOULD I SEE A COPY OF MY RAP SHEET? 11 HOW CAN I FIND OUT WHAT IS ON MY RAP SHEET?.......................................................................... 12 If you are currently incarcerated. 13 If you are not incarcerated or if you will be incarcerated for less than 45 days. 13 Other Options. 14 HOW DO I READ MY RAP SHEET?............................................................................................................. 15 WHAT SHOULD I LOOK FOR WHEN I REVIEW MY RAP SHEET?........................................................ 15 COMMON RAP SHEET MISTAKES.. 15 WHAT ABOUT ARRESTS THAT HAPPENED WHEN I WAS A YOUTH?............................................... 16 CLEANING UP YOUR RAP SHEET CORRECTING MISTAKES 18 SEALING CASES....... 20 CAN I GET CASES EREASED FROM MY RECORD?............................................................................... 20 WHAT DOES IT MEAN IF A CASE IS SEALED?...................................................................................... 20 WHAT KINDS OF CASES CAN BE SEALED?............................................................................................ 21 WHO GETS TO SEE SEALED CASES TERMINATED IN MY FAVOR?.................................................. 23 WHO GETS TO SEE SEALED VIOLATIONS OR TRAFFIC INFRACTION RECORDS?....................... 23 HOW DO I APPLY TO HAVE MY RECORDS SEALED?............................................................................ 24 HOW DO I WRITE A SEALING MOTION?.................................................................................................. 27 SEALING QS AND AS. 28 What if I am incarcerated and cannot go to court?............................................................................. 28 How long does it take to seal a case record?...................................................................................... 28 How do I know that my case has been sealed?................................................................................... 28 What can I do if a case that I know was sealed by the court is not sealed on my rap sheet?.............. 29 How do I seal a case on my FBI rap sheet?........................................................................................ 29 Can my misdemeanor or felony convictions be sealed?..................................................................... 29 Do I have to disclose information about my sealed records to a prospective employer?................... 30 If I have a conviction from my youth, can it be sealed?..................................................................... 30 How can I have my JD sealed from the criminal justice system?...................................................... 31 Will my records be sealed if my case was transferred from Criminal or another court to Family Court?......................................................................................................................... 31

HOW TO GET AND CLEAN UP YOUR NEW YORK STATE RAP SHEET

CERTIFICATE OF RELIEF FROM DISABLITIES AND CERTIFICATE OF GOOD CONDUCT....... 31 IS THERE ANYTHING I CAN DO ABOUT MY CRIMINAL CONVICTIONS?........................................ 31 APPLYING FOR CERTIFICATES OR RELIEF FROM DISABILITIES AND CERTIFICATES OF GOOD CONDUCT 32 WHICH CERTIFICATE SHOULD I APPLY FOR?....................................................................................... 33 HOW DO I APPLY FOR A CERFTIFICATE OF RELIEF FROM DISABILITIES?.................................... 34 HOW DO I APPLY FOR A CERTIFICATE OF GOOD CONDUCT?........................................................... 35 WHAT IF THE JOB I AM SEEKING IS CONSIDERED A PUBLIC OFFICE?........................................... 36 COMPLETING EMPLOYMENT APPLICATIONS..... 37 WHAT IS A CONVICTION?........................................................................................................................... 37 WHAT MUST I DISCLOSE ABOUT MY CRIMINAL RECORD?............................................................... 37 HOW DO I LIST MY CONVICTIONS?......................................................................................................... 39 HOW DO I HELP MYSELF AT THE INTERVIEW?..................................................................................... 40 CAN AN EMPLOYER DENY ME A JOB BECAUSE I HAVE A CRIMINAL RECORD?........................ 40 APPENDICES...... 42 APPENDIX 1: RAP SHEET REQUEST FOR PERSONS INCARCERATED IN STATE FACILITIES.. 43 APPENDIX 2: RAP SHEET REQUEST FOR PERSONS INCARCERATED IN LOCAL FACILITIES...... 44 APPENDIX 3: DISPOSITIONS THAT MAY BE SEALED UNDER SECTION 160.50 OF THE CRIMINAL PROCEDURE LAW...... 45 APPENDIX 4: VIOLATIONS AND TRAFFIC INFRACTIONS THAT CAN BE SEALED UNDER SECTION 160.55 OF THE CRIMINAL PROCEDURE LAW.. 46 APPENDIX 5: SAMPLE THREE COLUMN DCJS RAP SHEET AND KEY. 47 Older Version (Three Column) 47 Key To Sample Three Column: DCJS Rap Sheet...... 47 APPENDIX 6: SAMPLE SECURE SERVICES DCJS RAP SHEET AND KEY..... 49 Secure Services Rap Sheet (Contains CYCLES). 49 Key To Sample Secure Services-Cycle DCJS Rap Sheet... 50 APPENDIX 7: EXAMPLE OF DISPOSITION SLIP. 56 APPENDIX 8: MODEL LETTER TO COURT REQUESTING DISPOSITION SLIP. 57 APPENDIX 9: MODEL LETTER CHALLENGING INFORMATION ON A RAP SHEET AND REQUESTING CORRECTIONS.. 58 APPENDIX 10: LETTER TO THE COURT REQUESTING SEALING OF CASE WITHOUT AN AFFIDAVIT 59

HOW TO GET AND CLEAN UP YOUR NEW YORK STATE RAP SHEET

APPENDIX 11: MODEL COVER LETTER TO COURT WITH A SEALING MOTION AFFIDAVIT. 60 APPENDIX 12: MODEL LETTER REQUESTING AN APPLICATION FOR CERTIFICATE OF RELIEF FROM DISABILITIES.. 61 APPENDIX 13: MODEL LETTER REQUESTING AN APPLICATION FOR A CERTIFICATE OF GOOD CONDUCT.. 62 APPENDIX 14: SAMPLE PAPERS FOR SEALING MOTION UNDER CPL160.50 AND BLANK FORMS FOR YOU TO COMPLETE.. 63 APPENDIX 15: SAMPLE PAPERS FOR SEALING MOTION UNDER CPL160.55 69 APPENDIX 16: LIST OF ADDRESSES FOR MAJOR NEW YORK STATE COURTS..... 75

HOW TO GET AND CLEAN UP YOUR NEW YORK STATE RAP SHEET

INTRODUCTION
In New York State, there are more than 4 million arrest records, dating back to the 1890s, on file in the computers of the Division of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS). If you have ever been arrested for a fingerprintable offense in New York State, even if you were never found guilty of the charges, you have an arrest record on permanent file at DCJS. These records also called rap sheets cannot be destroyed or expunged. Many criminal justice agencies (such as police departments, courts, prosecutors, correction facilities, and probation and parole offices) have the right under New York State law to see your rap sheet. Certain employers, licensing agencies and others may also have access to your criminal records. If you have a rap sheet, it is important for you to review it. You should know exactly what information it contains, and you should make sure that the information it contains is accurate. This booklet will teach you how to get a copy of your rap sheet and understand it. It will also explain what you can do to make your record appear less threatening to potential employers and anyone else who may be entitled to see it. This will help prepare you for finding a job. We have also provided you with model letters for certain rap-sheet related issues. Throughout this manual, the terms rap sheet, record, criminal history record, criminal record, arrest record and DCJS record will be used interchangeably. The Legal Action Center is a non-profit, public interest organization that works with individuals with criminal records, people with histories of drug or alcohol addiction, and people with HIV/AIDS. The Center has helped thousands of individuals clean up their rap sheets.

HOW TO GET AND CLEAN UP YOUR NEW YORK STATE RAP SHEET

RAP SHEETS
WHAT IS A RAP SHEET?
If you have ever been arrested in New York State and fingerprinted, you have a New York State rap sheet. A rap sheet is a record of your arrest and conviction history in New York State. The Division of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS) in Albany maintains rap sheets. Each time you are arrested and fingerprinted, the police department sends
DCJS keeps track of arrests in New York State only. Out-of-state and federal cases will not appear on your New York rap sheet. The FBI keeps a complete listing of criminal justice information provided by state repositories around the country, and your DCJS file will have a notation of your FBI computer code

information concerning the arrest to DCJS. If you have been arrested before, DCJS adds the new information to your computer file; if not, a file is created for you. DCJS keeps track of arrests in New York State only. Out-of-state and federal cases will not appear on your New York rap sheet. The FBI keeps a complete listing of criminal justice information provided by state repositories around the country, and your DCJS file will have a notation of your FBI computer code number.1 Your rap sheet may also contain the notation multi state if you have been arrested outside New York. The state and local courts send information to DCJS as well. After you have seen a judge, the court contacts DCJS to report what has happened to the case. This information is also known as the disposition of the case. There are many possible dispositions, which could appear on your rap sheet. Some common dispositions include CONVICTED UPON A PLEA OF GUILTY, DISMISSED, and CHARGE NOT CONSIDERED BY GRAND JURY. If you fail to appear on your assigned court date and a bench warrant is issued for your arrest, the court tells DCJS, and the warrant is added to your record and will appear on your rap sheet. Remember: If you were arrested, fingerprinted and convicted, but served no time in jail,

number.

1. To learn how to obtain a copy of your FBI rap sheet, see page 13.

you still have a DCJS record. Also, if you were arrested and fingerprinted and the courts dismissed the case, you still have a DCJS record on file. However, this case should be sealed. Thus, information will not be available to people and agencies who are allowed to see your rap sheet, except in very limited circumstances.

HOW TO GET AND CLEAN UP YOUR NEW YORK STATE RAP SHEET

WHO CAN SEE YOUR DCJS RAP SHEET?

Five categories of people and agencies may see a copy of your rap sheet:

Criminal justice and law enforcement agencies


Police departments, courts, prosecutors and defense attorneys, parole and probation departments, and correctional officials have the right to review your rap sheet, including, in most cases, youthful offender adjudications, which are otherwise confidential. In rare cases, sealed information is also released (see page 23 for information about sealing records).
Most employers do not have the right to see your rap sheet. But New York State law does allow some groups of employers to get copies of your rap sheet when they are considering

Private and public employers


Most employers do not have the right to see your rap sheet. But New York State law does allow some groups of employers to get copies of your rap sheet when they are considering whether to hire you. Any employer who fingerprints you as part of the hiring process will probably send your fingerprints to DCJS to obtain your rap sheet. In addition, any employer can, with your permission, run a criminal background check on you, both when you apply for a job and even once you have a job. Employees often hire credit reporting agencies to do these background checks. Credit reporting agencies frequently get access to court records showing criminal conviction histories, and report them to employers. But there are legal limits on the information a credit reporting agency may gather and deliver, and there are legal requirements that any employer who uses these background checks must follow. For more information, see Are You a free Legal Action Center publication available at www.lac.org/pubs/gratis/html.

whether to hire you.

Here is a partial list of employers in New York State who are allowed, by law, to send for your rap sheet from DCJS or the FBI: Public employers (federal, state and local government agencies), including all
law enforcement agencies Child care agencies Hospitals Museums Home health care agencies

HOW TO GET AND CLEAN UP YOUR NEW YORK STATE RAP SHEET

Financial institutions, such as banks and brokerage houses Schools and companies hiring school bus drivers and school bus attendants. Public employers can require a job applicant to be fingerprinted so that the employer can obtain a copy of his/her rap sheet from DCJS or the FBI. Public employers include local, state and federal agencies such as police and fire departments, the New York City Transit Authority, the New York State Department of Correctional Services, school districts, the Department of Sanitation, and the United States Postal Service, among many others. Public employers hire many people with criminal records. You should not avoid applying for government jobs simply because you know that the employer will get your rap sheet. New York State law prohibits employers from refusing to hire people with criminal records simply because they have a record; employers may deny an applicant a job because of a criminal conviction only if the offense is directly job-related or if the persons criminal record indicates that he or she may be a threat to people or property. However, you should be aware that if you apply for a law-enforcement job or any job that requires a government-issued gun permit, the employer will have access to many parts of your record that are not available to other employers,
Hundreds of jobs (including barber, real estate broker, doctor, nurse and taxi driver) require a state or municipal license. Often, the agency that issues an occupational license will not grant licenses unless applicants show that they possess good moral character. For a few licenses, laws actually bar people with criminal records from even applying.

including sealed information (see page 23). Occupational Licensing Agencies Hundreds of jobs (including barber, real estate broker, doctor, nurse and taxi driver) require a state or municipal license. Often, the agency that issues an occupational license will not grant licenses unless applicants show that they possess good moral character. For a few licenses, laws actually bar people with criminal records from even applying. For this reason, some occupational licensing agencies will check your DCJS file when you apply for a license (For a list of these agencies, see Legal Action Centers Occupational Licensing Survey at www.lac.org/pubs/grants/html).

Bonding Agencies
A bond is a kind of insurance policy, which an employer takes out on an individual employee to protect the employer in case that employee steals from the

HOW TO GET AND CLEAN UP YOUR NEW YORK STATE RAP SHEET

employer or from customers. The agencies that issue bonds can get your rap sheet when they are deciding whether or not to bond you (for more information on the Federal Bonding Program, go to www.hirenetwork.org.)

You
You have the right to see your own rap sheet. See page 12 to learn how you can arrange for this review.

OFFICE OF COURT ADMINISTRATION RAP SHEETS


Effective July 14, 2003, the Office of Court Administration (OCA) of the State of New York expanded their program of making criminal history records available to the general public. OCA now provides statewide criminal record history. The fee to purchase these records is currently $52.00 and the service is available to anyone who has your name and date of birth (alias names have to be searched separately to produce results). The search does NOT require your permission. An application form can be filled out online by submitting the name, address and phone number of the person or company submitting the application. Since the search is not fingerprint-based, it may provide results that are inaccurate. If you want to know what information will be given to a person who does a search using your name, you can fill out an application, pay the fee, and conduct a search using your own name and date of birth. The address for OCAs Criminal History Record Search Department is: NYS Office of Court Administration Office of Administrative Services Criminal History Record Search 25 Beaver Street (Room 840-Front Counter) New York, NY 10004 212 428-2810 If a search of your name and date of birth produces inaccurate results, questions can be directed to OCAs Criminal History Search Unit at 212-428-2943 between the hours of 10:00 a.m. and 4:00 pm. Also, the Legal Action Center may be able to help you correct inaccurate reporting of your criminal history by OCA. We would be interested in compiling data concerning the accuracy of these background searches. For assistance, you can also call LAC at 212 243-1313 and ask for the paralegal on call.
The fee is $52.00 and the service is available to anyone who has your name and date of birth (alias names have to be searched separately to produce results). The search does NOT require your permission. An application form can be filled out online by submitting the name, address and phone number of the person or company submitting the application.

HOW TO GET AND CLEAN UP YOUR NEW YORK STATE RAP SHEET

You should request a copy of your rap sheet for three reasons: 1. You can check for mistakes. Rap sheets are often incomplete and sometimes contain mistakes that can hurt you if they are seen by an employer or anyone else. If you review your record before you are fingerprinted for a job, you can correct errors before they do any damage. For example, you might have been adjudicated a youthful offender (YO) when you were between the ages of 16 and 18. If entered properly in the rap sheet computer, YO information is confidential and will not be sent to an employer. Sometimes, however, the YO notation that would keep the case from being disclosed to potential employers does not appear on the rap sheet. Information that should be confidential is then sent to any employer who is authorized to see your record. If you notice the mistake ahead of time, you can make sure your YO records stay confidential. 2. You may not remember everything. New York State law permits employers to ask job applicants about their criminal convictions and about non-sealed violation offenses.2 If you do not answer truthfully and completely and the employer finds out, you can be denied a job a job or fired. Because of this, another good reason to look at your rap sheet is to help you remember the specific details of your criminal history so that you can be accurate when filling out job applications. Your convictions may have occurred many years ago, and you may not remember all the charges and the
2. Employers may ask only about convictions; they are not entitled to information about explain you arrests that did not lead to conviction. If you are asked about arrests that did not result in a conviction, you are only required to list your convictions. If you don't reveal your convictions, you can be fired for not being truthful on your job application. See the Legal Action Centers pamphlet called Are You? for more information on this.

WHY SHOULD I SEE A COPY OF MY RAP SHEET?

names of the courts where your case was adjudicated, or even exactly what it was that you were convicted of. You will need this information if you are asked to explain your criminal convictions when you fill out a job application. Also, court proceedings can be very confusing and you may not fully understand the outcome of a case. Sometimes, a person pleads guilty to misdemeanor charges and receives an unconditional discharge (meaning that he or she does not have to pay a fine or serve time in jail) without realizing that this is a conviction of a criminal offense that must be reported if a job application asks about criminal convictions. If you review your record before filling out a job application, you will be able to list your convictions accurately.

HOW TO GET AND CLEAN UP YOUR NEW YORK STATE RAP SHEET

Then, an employer cannot refuse to hire you, or fire you for lying. (For more information on how to complete employment applications accurately, see page 37.)

3. You can prepare for a job interview.


As we know, there are limitations on who can see your rap sheet. But many employers and licensing agencies do have legal access to a copy of your DCJS file. Other employers may be able to gain access to your rap sheet unlawfully. Even those without access to your DCJS rap sheet may ask you to list and describe your criminal convictions and might pay a private company to search court records for your criminal history. If you know exactly what your record reveals about you before you apply for a job or license, you will have the opportunity to think about the best way to describe your convictions to the job interviewer. For example, your record may report a conviction for a drug-related charge like Possession of a Hypodermic Needle. An employer who sees this charge on your rap sheet might assume that you are currently a drug abuser. If you look at your record before your interview, you can think ahead of time about how to prepare yourself to talk about this issue. You might decide to present a letter from your drug treatment program as proof of your rehabilitation and recovery.
The unique number identifier assigned to your DCJS record is called your NYSID (New York State Identification) number. Knowing your NYSID number will be helpful (but is not necessary) when you ask to review your rap sheet; however, you could only know your NYSID number if you have previously reviewed your rap sheet, so dont worry if you dont have it.

HOW CAN I FIND OUT WHAT IS ON MY RAP SHEET?


To find out what information is on your New York State rap sheet, you must ask DCJS to send you a copy. When you receive a copy of your rap sheet, your name and other identifying information will be included. Before September 2000, DCJS eliminated all identifying information on your record. But now only the rap sheets of incarcerated inmates will lack identifying information. Note: The unique number identifier assigned to your DCJS record is called your NYSID (New York State Identification) number. Knowing your NYSID number will be helpful (but is not necessary) when you ask to review your rap sheet however, you could only know your NYSID number if you have previously reviewed your rap sheet, so dont worry if you dont have it.

HOW TO GET AND CLEAN UP YOUR NEW YORK STATE RAP SHEET

If you are currently incarcerated


If you are currently serving a sentence in a New York State prison or in a county or city jail, DCJS will mail you a copy of your criminal history record free of charge. You must write to DCJS, providing your name, any aliases (an alias is any other name that you may have used for yourself or may be known by), your birth date, your DIN (the Department of Corrections Department Identification Number), and, if you have it, your NYSID number. Including your race, sex and Social Security number helps to identify your file among the millions in the DCJS computer. You must also state how long you will be incarcerated. DCJS will not send your rap sheet to you if you will be incarcerated for less than 45 days. See Appendices 1 and 2 for an example of a Letter for Rap Sheet Request for Persons Incarcerated in State Facilities and Rap Sheet Request for Persons Incarcerated in Local Facilities. If you will be incarcerated for less than 45 days, you will have to use one of the other methods described below. If you are not incarcerated or if you will be incarcerated for less than 45 days If you are not incarcerated or will be incarcerated for less than 45 days, you can receive a copy of your rap sheet by sending DCJS a form called Request for Record Review. You can obtain this form by writing to:
3. You can get fingerprinted at your local police precinct or at 1 Police Plaza, New York, New York. They generally charge $15.00. If you are in the NYC area, you can call the Legal Action Center for an appointment to get fingerprinted and send for a copy of your rap sheet if you are on public assistance, receive Medicaid or are not currently working (you will be required to sign an affidavit).

New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services Record Review Unit 4 Tower Place Albany, NY 12203-3764 (518) 485-7675 Once you have filled out the form, return it to DCJS with a copy of your fingerprints and a post office money order or an American or Travelers Express money order in the amount of $50. If you cannot afford to pay the fee, you must send proof of indigence to DCJS (such as a photocopy of your public assistance or Medicaid card). DCJS will send you your rap sheet free of charge. In order to obtain a copy of your rap sheet from the FBI, write to: US Department of Justice Federal Bureau of Investigation 1000 Custer Hollow Road Clarksburg, WV 26306
3

HOW TO GET AND CLEAN UP YOUR NEW YORK STATE RAP SHEET

Your letter to the FBI should indicate that you are making your request under the Freedom of Information Act. Your request should include your name, address, date of birth, place of birth and a complete set of fingerprints. The FBI charges a fee of $18 for your FBI record, so you must enclose a certified check or money order payable to the U.S. Treasurer. The fee will be waived if you send a notarized letter explaining that you cannot pay the fee. If you need help, please call the Legal Action Center at (212) 243-1313. Our address is: 225 Varick Street, New York, NY 10014. WARNING: If you think that there may be an outstanding warrant for your arrest, you should clear it up before you contact DCJS. This is because the arresting agency might learn of your current address. To clear up an open warrant, contact the attorney who represented you in the case, if possible, or call your local public defenders office if you do not know the attorneys name.
If you think that there may be an outstanding warrant for your arrest, you should clear it up before you contact DCJS. To clear up an open warrant, contact a private attorney or call your local public defenders office.

Other Options
There are a couple of other ways you may be able to see (and perhaps even get a copy of) your rap sheet. First, when you go to court for a criminal case, your lawyer is given a copy of your rap sheet when you are arraigned. This copy will stay in your lawyers file and you can ask to see it. If you were represented by a Legal Aid Society attorney or public defender, you may be able see your rap sheet by calling the office that represented you. Second, if you are currently on parole or probation or recently were released, your parole or probation officer may have a copy of your rap sheet in his or her files. If you ask to see it, your P.O. might show it to you.
4

4. Please be aware that the rap sheet that your defense attorney or your probation or parole officer has will not be as complete as the record review rap sheet you receive from DCJS. When you request a copy of your rap sheet from DCJS, you have the right to see all the information it contains; rap sheets sent by DCJS to a court or a probation or parole officer will not include information that is sealed or suppressed.

HOW TO GET AND CLEAN UP YOUR NEW YORK STATE RAP SHEET

HOW DO I READ MY RAP SHEET? There are two different versions of the rap sheet available from DCJS. While DCJS has largely converted to the new version, the older version is still being distributed to incarcerated persons. This manual will cover both versions, beginning with the older one (three columns) in Appendix 5 and then the new Secure Services version of the rap sheet (CYCLES divided by horizontal lines) in Appendix 6. To clean up your rap sheet, whether older or newer version, you will need
Rap sheets may have one or more mistakes because your case had to pass through a number of different agencies: the arresting agency, the prosecutors office, the court, the correctional facility, the probation or parole department, and DCJS itself. There are plenty of chances for part of your file to get lost or for someone to make an error.

several pieces of information for each arrest. Look on your rap sheet for: Arrest date Arrest charges Disposition date Name of the court where your case was heard Docket or index number Disposition of the case (were you convicted? was the case dismissed?) If you were convicted The offense you were convicted of The classification of the offense (violation, misdemeanor or felony)

WHAT SHOULD I LOOK FOR WHEN I REVIEW MY RAP SHEET?


The first thing you should do when you review your rap sheet is to check carefully for mistakes. Rap sheets may have one or more mistakes because your case had to pass through a number of different agencies: the arresting agency, the prosecutors office, the court, the correctional facility, the probation or parole department, and DCJS itself. There are plenty of opportunities for part of your file to get lost or for someone to make an error.

COMMON RAP SHEET MISTAKES


Incomplete entries Rap sheets often report arrests without showing what finally happened to the case. When this happens, your rap sheet will say no disposition reported because no one informed DCJS about what happened to the case. This omission can hurt you because people who see your record might assume you were found

HOW TO GET AND CLEAN UP YOUR NEW YORK STATE RAP SHEET

guilty of the original arrest charges, when you may have been acquitted or convicted of less serious charges. Or people might assume that the charges are still outstanding and there is an open warrant for your arrest. Incorrect entries Any computer system is subject to human error. For example, one mans rap sheet reported that he was convicted of murder (125.25 of the New York State Penal Law) when, in fact, he had been arrested for shoplifting and had plead guilty to Petit Larceny (155.25 of the Penal Law). This was the result of a typing mistake. You should check your rap sheet carefully to make sure that, as far as you can tell, all of the information on your rap sheet is correct. Double entries Sometimes, information about one arrest will get split into two or more separate entries on your rap sheet. This mistake makes your criminal record look longer and more serious than it really is. Cases that should be sealed but are not Many cases that can be sealed under New York State law should be sealed automatically. For a full discussion of which types of cases can be sealed and what can be done if sealing should have but did not occur, see page 20.

WHAT ABOUT ARRESTS WHEN I WAS A YOUTH?


Overview In New York State, people less than 16 years old generally are not criminally responsible for their conduct. A person over the age of 7 and less than 16 who commits what would be a crime for an adult generally will be charged in Family Court. If found guilty, the judge will decide whether to adjudicate (find) the person a juvenile delinquent (JD). For certain designated violent felonies, a person 13, 14, or 15 years of age may be tried as an adult in Criminal or Supreme Court as a juvenile offender (JO). A person aged 13 can be tried as JO for murder. A person aged 14 or 15 can be tried as a JO for murder and other violent felonies, such as kidnapping, arson, rape and robbery. Most JO cases are heard in Supreme Court. The only difference between an adult conviction and a JO may be the incarceration facility and/or the length of sentence.

HOW TO GET AND CLEAN UP YOUR NEW YORK STATE RAP SHEET

A person aged 16, 17 or 18 always is considered an adult and will be tried as an adult, but may be granted youthful offender (YO) status. Generally, YO status is not an automatic right and a judge will consider factors like the type of crime committed and past offenses. In order to be granted YO status, you must plead guilty to the crime charged. YO status also may be granted to youths aged 13, 14 or 15 who are charged as a juvenile offender. YO cases are heard in either Criminal or Supreme Court. YO status is mandatory in certain circumstances. If your case is heard in a local criminal court and you plead guilty or are found guilty after a trial, and if you have no previous criminal conviction or YO adjudications, the court must grant you YO status. Which youth will be fingerprinted? If you are under the age of 16, you will be fingerprinted only if you are: 11 years or older and arrested for an A or B felony, or 13 years or older and arrested for any felony. If you are 16 or older, you automatically will be fingerprinted, and the fingerprints will be sent to DCJS. Who gets a copy of my fingerprints? DCJS and law enforcement will put your fingerprints on file. If you are adjudicated a JD, your fingerprints will remain at DCJS and the police department. If you are not adjudicated a JD, the Family Court will order DCJS, the police department, and any other law enforcement agencies to destroy them. Will I have a rap sheet at DCJS? If you were not fingerprinted at the time of arrest, you will not have a record at DCJS. If you were fingerprinted at the time of arrest, no matter what your age, you will have a DCJS rap sheet. Your JD adjudications, however, will appear only on your own record review. They will not be available to any person or public or private agency. By making a motion, you also can get a JD sealed. (See page 31 for more information on sealing your JD.) JOs will appear on your DCJS rap sheet and will be available to any person or public or private agency. A JO conviction can never be sealed.
HOW TO GET AND CLEAN UP YOUR NEW YORK STATE RAP SHEET

YO status is considered confidential. Only your school and the criminal justice system will have access to your YO adjudication. It will not be available to any other person or public or private agency.

Will I have a conviction?


If you have only a JD or a YO, then you do not have a conviction. Both are adjudications. You can answer no to questions that ask whether you have ever been convicted. If you have a JO, then you do have a conviction. You must respond yes to any questions that ask if you have a conviction record.

CLEANING UP YOUR RAP SHEETCORRECTING MISTAKES


DCJS will correct mistakes on your rap sheet if you explain the mistakes and provide proof that your rap sheet is incorrect. The procedures for correcting information on your record vary slightly depending on how you obtained a copy of your rap sheet. Most mistakes can be fixed easily, without the help of an attorney. But the process takes some time, so start as early as you can. If you think there is an error on your rap sheet, you must take the following steps: 1. Get a disposition slip for the case from the court where the case was heard. A disposition slip is an official court record of the case and includes the docket number, date of arrest, arrest charges, disposition (what finally happened to the case) and disposition date. The disposition slip should contain the correct information. If you disagree with what is on the disposition slip, then you will need a lawyer to look into it. (See example in Appendix 7. The disposition slip is official only if the seal of the court is pressed into the paper so that you can feel it if you run your finger over it.)

HOW TO GET AND CLEAN UP YOUR NEW YORK STATE RAP SHEET

To get a disposition slip, you must contact the court clerk in the court where your case was heard. Your rap sheet should indicate the name of the court under the heading Court Case Information (for new rap sheets) or in the right-hand column. The quickest way to get the disposition slip is to go to the clerks office in person. If you are incarcerated or cannot get to the court, you can write to the clerks office, but it may take several months to receive copies of your dispositions. (See Appendix 8: Letter to Court Requesting Disposition Slip. Also see Appendix 16 for a list of addresses of the major courts in the State of New York.) Whether you write or go in person, give the court clerk your name, any aliases you may have used, the date of your arrest, and the docket number under which your case is filed. (Again, this information should be on your rap sheet.) If you cant provide a docket number or arrest date because it is not indicated on
A Record Review and Statement of Challenge is a DCJS form that is used to explain to DCJS why you think there is a mistake on your rap sheet and to request that DCJS correct the mistake. A blank Statement of Challenge is usually sent along with your rap sheet when you receive a copy in the mail. If you dont have a Statement of Challenge, a letter to DCJS will be sufficient to challenge the accuracy of the information on your rap sheet.

your rap sheet, your name and the approximate date that the case was heard will probably be enough, but that will make it harder for the clerk to find the information. Courts charge a fee (between $5.00 and $10.00) for disposition slips, but they may sometimes waive the fee if you were represented by a Legal Aid Society attorney or public defender, if you are incarcerated, or if you are on public assistance or receive Medicaid. 2. Send the original copy of the disposition slip and a Record Review and Statement of Challenge to DCJS. A Record Review and Statement of Challenge is a DCJS form that is used to explain to DCJS why you think there is a mistake on your rap sheet and to request that DCJS correct the mistake. A blank Statement of Challenge is usually sent along with your rap sheet when you receive a copy in the mail. If you dont have a Statement of Challenge, a letter to DCJS will be sufficient to challenge the accuracy of the information on your rap sheet (see Appendix 9: Letter Challenging Information on a Rap Sheet and Asking for Corrections.) Whether you fill out the Record Review and Statement of Challenge or write DCJS a letter, you should explain when and where you saw a copy of your criminal record. To speed up your request, refer to your NYSID or New York State Identification Number, if you know it. Also, you must return the

HOW TO GET AND CLEAN UP YOUR NEW YORK STATE RAP SHEET

processed fingerprint card, which was returned with your initial rap sheet request. Carefully explain what part of the record you think is wrong and how you think the record should be corrected. Remember to be as clear as possible when describing what you want changed on your rap sheet. You must document your challenge by attaching a disposition slip to prove that the correction should be made. If there is more than one mistake on your rap sheet, be sure to provide a separate disposition slip for each mistake you want corrected. DCJS will make corrections on your rap sheet only if you send an original, certified disposition slip with a court clerk or judges signature or seal; do not send a photocopy. If you think you will need a copy of the disposition slip in the future, you should photocopy it before you mail the original to DCJS. DCJS will not return the original disposition to you and cannot send you a copy at a later date. Your record should be corrected within a few weeks after you send the letter. When your record has been corrected, DCJS will notify you by letter. If you want to make sure that your record has been corrected, you will have to ask DCJS to send you a copy of your rap sheet again.

SEALING CASES
CAN I GET CASES ERASED FROM MY RECORD?
No, you cannot erase or expunge criminal record information in New York State. But State law does allow the courts and DCJS to seal information about any case that was dismissed or that was otherwise terminated (ended) in your favor. Records of convictions for most non-criminal offenses or violations can also be sealed. Misdemeanor or felony convictions cannot be sealed.

When a case is sealed, your fingerprints, palm prints and mug shots are destroyed, and information about the sealed arrest is removed from the version of your rap sheet that will be sent to employers and others. However, you should understand that the record of a sealed arrest is never completely destroyed. A record of all your arrests will still remain in a confidential file in the DCJS computer.

WHAT DOES IT MEAN IF A CASE IS SEALED?


When a case is sealed, your fingerprints, palm prints and mug shots are destroyed, and information about the sealed arrest is removed from the version of your rap sheet that will be sent to employers and others. However, you should understand that the record of a sealed arrest is never completely

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destroyed. A record of all your arrests will still remain in a confidential file in the DCJS computer. Only in very limited circumstances can sealed information be released (see page 23).

WHAT KINDS OF CASES CAN BE SEALED?


Information about cases that were terminated in your favor and cases in which you were convicted of a violation rather than a criminal offense can be sealed.

Arrests that did not lead to conviction


Under a New York State law passed in September 1976 (Criminal Procedure Law or CPL 160.50), you can seal information about arrests that were terminated in your favor. Cases that can be sealed under CPL 160.50 include arrests that ended in acquittals, dismissals, decline prosecutions, or adjournments in contemplation of dismissal (ACD --a case that is adjourned in contemplation of dismissal is dismissed and should be sealed after a waiting period has passed unless you are rearrested during that waiting period).

Arrests that lead to conditional or unconditional discharges for misdemeanors or felonies cannot be sealed.
Discharges are convictions, even if you do not pay a fine or serve time in jail or on probation or parole. Any dismissal, acquittal, ACD, or decline prosecution that occurred after November 1991, should have been sealed automatically by the court. If your case was not sealed automatically or if you were arrested before November 1991, you can apply to have the records of your case sealed by contacting the court in which you were tried. (See Appendix 9 for instructions.)

Arrests leading to convictions for other non-criminal offenses


Another New York State law, 160.55 of the Criminal Procedure Law, allows you to have sealed the records of most convictions for violations. A violation is a non-criminal offense and is less serious than a misdemeanor or felony. (Only misdemeanors and felonies are considered crimes.) Common violations
5

HOW TO GET AND CLEAN UP YOUR NEW YORK STATE RAP SHEET

include loitering, disorderly conduct and trespass. (See Appendices 3 and 4 for a full list of sealable violation charges.) There are two types of non-criminal convictions that cannot be sealed. They are Driving While Impaired (because a second conviction for the same thing is automatically a misdemeanor) and Prostitution (because in 1969, a prostitution conviction was made a crime). With those two exceptions, the court should have sealed any violation conviction that occurred after November 1991 automatically when you were found guilty. However, in certain limited circumstances, a judge may order that a violation conviction not be sealed. This sometimes happens as part of a plea bargain, or after trial. Your rap sheet probably will not show that a judge ordered this it will only become clear when you request a disposition slip from the court clerks office. If a judge ordered that a conviction not be sealed, DCJS can not seal it on your request. If you have a violation conviction that was not sealed or which occurred before November 1991, you can apply to the court to get those records sealed by returning to court and making a formal sealing motion request. (See Appendix 9 for instructions.)
5. Traffic infractions are also violations and sealable. Traffic infractions usually do not appear on DCJS rap sheets unless you were arrested for a criminal offense and the traffic infraction was included as an additional charge. Violations of Vehicle and Traffic Law 1192(2) (operating a motor vehicle with .10% or higher level of alcohol in the blood), Vehicle and Traffic Law 1192(3) (driving while intoxicated), and Vehicle and Traffic Law 1192(4) (operating motor vehicle while impaired by drugs) are all misdemeanors, and therefore cannot be sealed. Driving while "impaired" by alcohol in violation of Vehicle and Traffic Law 1192(1) is considered a violation, but for special reasons, such violation convictions cannot be sealed.

Arrests leading to convictions for possession of marijuana violations


A violation conviction for possession of less than 7/8 of an ounce of marijuana under Penal Law 221.05 should be sealed under CPL 160.55 three years after the crime date if there are no subsequent drug-related convictions during that waiting period.

HOW TO GET AND CLEAN UP YOUR NEW YORK STATE RAP SHEET

WHO GETS TO SEE SEALED CASES TERMINATED IN MY FAVOR?


Sealed information for arrests that were terminated in your favor (pursuant to
If you apply for a job as a law enforcement or peace officer, or any other job that requires you to carry a gun, the employer will have access to sealed and confidential information from DCJS. If you are arrested while on parole or probation, your P.O. can get information on the case even if it was sealed or is sealable.

CPL 160.50) is released by DCJS in only a few situations. If you make a request to see your own rap sheet, sealed information will appear on it (see page 28, How do I know that my case has been sealed?). If you apply for a license to carry a gun, the agency that issues the license or permit (usually the local law enforcement agency) will get sealed information from DCJS. If you apply for a job as a law enforcement or peace officer, or any other job that requires you to carry a gun, the employer will have access to sealed and confidential information from DCJS. If you are arrested while on parole or probation, your P.O. can get information on the case even if it was sealed. Prosecutors and other law enforcement official can gain access to sealed information by showing that justice requires that they have the information.

WHO GETS TO SEE SEALED VIOLATIONS OR TRAFFIC INFRACTION RECORDS?


C.P.L. 160.55 (addressing the sealing of convictions for non-criminal offenses) seals state records, police records and records in the prosecutor's office, but not court files. This means that it is still possible for the information to be discovered by an employer or anyone else who is willing to review computerized court records or actual court files. C.P.L. 160.50, on the other hand, requires the local court to seal records that were terminated in a person's favor. Under both C.P.L. 160 and 160.55, digital fingerprints are not destroyed by DCJS if you have other unsealed dispositions, but are instead kept on file with DCJS. Note: Although the law seals violations on your official DCJS rap sheet, the law does not seal them at the court level. Until August 2007, the Office of Court Administration (OCA) routinely gave information about sealed violations to anyone (such as a potential employer) who paid a fee for a criminal background check. But in August 2007, OCA stopped including information about sealed violations in the records it sells to the public.

HOW TO GET AND CLEAN UP YOUR NEW YORK STATE RAP SHEET

HOW DO I APPLY TO HAVE MY RECORDS SEALED?


The way you apply to have a case record sealed depends on when the case was decided or whether the prosecution was dropped. As of November 1991, most cases that can be sealed should be sealed automatically. Prior to November 1991, the court in which the person was convicted had to send a sealing order directing DCJS to seal a case. That extra level of paperwork resulted in many cases not being sealed when they should have been. If your case was dismissed or you were convicted of a violation on or a traffic infraction on or after November 1, 1991 (except where a judge has ordered that your case not be sealed see page 22), a separate sealing order from the court is not needed to seal the case. All the court has to do is notify DCJS about the disposition of the case, which it does routinely anyway. If the case was dismissed or otherwise terminated in your favor or resulted in a conviction for a violation or traffic infraction, then DCJS will automatically seal the case unless the disposition specifically tells DCJS not to. If you were sentenced to a conditional discharge when you were convicted of or pled guilty to a violation or traffic infraction, DCJS will seal your case at the end of the conditional discharge period. Likewise, court records (and OCA computer records) will not show that your case is sealed until the end of this period. If, when you review your rap sheet, you see that you have a case that was decided after November 1, 1991, that was sealable under CPL 160.50 or 160.55 (see Appendices 3 and 4) but was not sealed, then all you have to do is go to the court, get an official disposition slip (one that includes the seal of the court) from the court clerk, and send it to DCJS along with a letter explaining that you want to have that case sealed. It is as simple as that. The fingerprints and photographs for that case should then be destroyed by DCJS. If you wish to obtain confirmation that this has been done, write to the Sealing Unit at DCJS at the address listed on page 27. However, please remember that judges can order that your case not be sealed. DCJS cannot seal your record in those situations. If your case was decided before November 1, 1991, then the process is more complicated. You must apply to the court where your case was heard and ask
HOW TO GET AND CLEAN UP YOUR NEW YORK STATE RAP SHEET

the court clerk to send a sealing order to DCJS. If you have sealable cases in three different courts, you will have to apply separately in each of the courts for each individual case.
Every court sets up its own procedures for sealing cases. Some will require that you file formal legal papers with the court in order to get a case sealed, and some may not. The legal papers you may have to file are called sealing motions. Since each court has its own procedures you will have to call or write to the court clerk to find out what steps you will have to follow.

Every court sets up its own procedures for sealing cases. Some will require that you file formal legal papers with the court in order to get a case sealed, and some may not. The legal papers you may have to file are called sealing motions. Since each court has its own procedures you will have to call or write to the court clerk to find out what steps you will have to follow. (See Appendix 16 for a list of the addresses of the major courts in New York State).

Here is a summary of the steps you usually have to take to seal your records.
Call the court clerk and ask what procedure to follow for getting a case sealed in that court. Ask if you can apply to have a case sealed through the mail; many small courts may be willing to issue a sealing order if you simply write a letter, but some courts will require you to apply in person. If the clerk says you can apply to have a case sealed with a letter, ask how (and

Whether you send a letter or file a formal sealing motion, the local district attorney (DA) or prosecutors office must be notified. The law requires the court to wait until the DA has had at least five days notice of your request to have a case sealed, in case the DA would like to object. In some small courts the court clerk will do this for you, while in others you will have to notify the DA yourself.

to whom) you should address the letter, and whether you should send a copy to the district attorney. In your letter be sure to provide your name and address, any aliases, your arrest date, your docket or index number, and any other information that will help the clerk find the records of your case, including your NYSID number if you know it. (See Appendix 10 for an example of Letter to the Court Requesting Sealing of Case Without an Affidavit.) Also, ask the clerk to notify you when and if your records have been sealed. If the clerk tells you that a letter is not sufficient, prepare a sealing motion for each case you wish to have sealed by that court. (See How do I write a sealing motion? on page 27.) Make two photocopies of the motion and affidavit. The original goes to the court clerk, one copy is for the district attorney (see below) and one copy is for your records. Take the original and one copy of the motion papers to the district attorneys office. Whether you send a letter or file a formal sealing motion, the local district attorney (DA) or prosecutors office must be notified. The law requires

HOW TO GET AND CLEAN UP YOUR NEW YORK STATE RAP SHEET

the court to wait until the DA has had at least five days notice of your request to have a case sealed, in case the DA would like to object. In some small courts the court clerk will do this for you, while in others you will have to notify the DA yourself. Be sure to ask the court clerk whether or not you need to contact the DA. The DA will probably have an office either in or near the court. Give the DAs office both the copy intended for it and the original. Many courts will want proof that you served the DAs office a copy of the motion papers. Ask the DAs office to stamp or otherwise mark the original received so the court clerk will know that you gave the DA a copy. Take the original copy of the sealing motion papers to the court clerk. What happens then depends on the court and how busy it is. Some courts will require you to appear in front of a judge who will decide whether or not to approve the sealing motion. Usually, the court appearance is a formality and you do not have to be represented by a lawyer. If you feel unsure about going to court alone, you could ask your local Legal Aid or public defenders office for help. If your sealing motion is approved, the court will send a sealing order to DCJS. DCJS no longer returns fingerprints and photographs, but now simply destroys them. If you wish to confirm that your fingerprints and photographs have been destroyed, write to the Sealing Unit at DCJS at the address listed below on the next page. Note: If you have a sealable case in Manhattan Criminal Court, all you have to do to request that a case be sealed is go to the court (with identification and a docket number if possible) and tell the court clerk that you have a case that you want to get sealed. You do not have to submit a sealing motion or provide the court with a letter. The court clerk or his or her staff will fill out the necessary papers for you and file them with the court and the DA. Decline Prosecutions If your case ended in a decline prosecution, you may have to follow a different procedure for sealing the records of the case. Decline prosecution, or nolle prosequi, means that the case was dismissed because the prosecutor decided that there was not enough evidence to press charges. Usually, the court clerk will not
If your case ended in a decline prosecution, you may have to follow a different procedure for sealing the records of the case. Decline prosecution, or nolle prosequi, means that the case was dismissed because the prosecutor decided that there was not enough evidence to press charges. Usually, the court clerk will not have a record of the case if you were not prosecuted.

HOW TO GET AND CLEAN UP YOUR NEW YORK STATE RAP SHEET

have a record of the case if you were not prosecuted. You do not have to file a sealing motion in decline prosecution cases. Instead, you should contact the district attorneys office to obtain a letter or form verifying that the prosecutor did not pursue the case. This form is sometimes called a 343 dismissal form. When you have proof of the decline prosecution, you should keep a copy for yourself and mail the original to: Division of Criminal Justice Services Sealed Records Unit 4 Tower Place Albany, NY 12203-3764. Include a letter explaining that you want this case sealed and include your name, address, NYSID number and Social Security number. The Sealing Unit will use the form to seal your case within six to ten weeks. DCJS should destroy your fingerprints and photographs. Note: There can sometimes be more than one docket or case number resulting from a single arrest, especially if there were a number of charges which were dealt with at different times. Be aware of this because if there is more than one case number, you will have to seal each one separately. If you dont check for this, parts of your record, which you believe to be sealed, may not be.

HOW DO I WRITE A SEALING MOTION?


Sealing motion papers consist of a notice of motion and an affidavit. Examples of a completed sealing motion (a notice of motion and an affidavit) can be found in Appendices 14 and 15. (You may use these sheets to photocopy or remove for your use.) Carefully follow the model forms to fill out your sealing motion(s). Remember: You will need to make two extra copies of each sealing motion. Get the original notarized before making the copies.

HOW TO GET AND CLEAN UP YOUR NEW YORK STATE RAP SHEET

SEALING FAQS:
WHAT IF I AM INCARCERATED AND CANNOT GO TO COURT? A court that requires people to appear in person to make a sealing motion will generally not require that you make an appearance if you explain that you are incarcerated. You can mail your sealing motion to the court clerk and enclose a letter explaining your situation. (See Appendix 11: Cover Letter to Court with a Sealing Motion Affidavit.) Also tell the clerk that you have mailed a copy of the motion forms to the district attorney. It is a good idea to mail your motion papers by certified mail, return receipt requested, to make sure that your request does not get lost. HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO SEAL A CASE RECORD? Do not expect immediate results if you are trying to seal entries on your rap sheet. The criminal justice system in New York State is one of the largest and busiest in the country. For this reason, it will probably take at least three months for you to seal your records. If you are going to be fingerprinted for a job, start working on cleaning up your record far in advance. HOW DO I KNOW THAT MY CASE HAS BEEN SEALED? The easiest way to check whether your records have been sealed on the DCJS computer is to request a second copy of your rap sheet. Remember: when you request your DCJS record, you will see your entire file, including both sealed and unsealed entries. So, your sealed entries will still be listed on the rap sheet that you review. You will know that your cases have been officially sealed if you see a sealed 160.50 or sealed 160.55 in the newer Secured Services Rap Sheet. In the older, three column rap sheet, you will see a sealed 160.55 notation in the third column and an asterisk (*) in the first column next to your arrest date. The sealed notation is the code that tells the computer to leave out the entry when your rap sheet is sent to an employer. Always check to make sure that the phrase sealed 160.50 or sealed 160.55 appears in the disposition column (old rap sheet) or cycle (new rap sheet) for each docket or indictment or case number attached to the arrest. If it does not, then the record probably has not
The criminal justice system in New York State is one of the largest and busiest in the country. For this reason, it will probably take at least three months for you to seal your records. If you are going to be fingerprinted for a job, start working on cleaning up your record far in advance.

HOW TO GET AND CLEAN UP YOUR NEW YORK STATE RAP SHEET

been sealed. If more than one docket number is shown for a single arrest they must each be sealed separately or part of the arrest record will remain unsealed and will show up on your rap sheet. WHAT CAN I DO IF A CASE THAT I KNOW WAS SEALED BY THE COURT IS NOT SEALED ON MY RAP SHEET? If your case was resolved by the court on or after November 1, 1991, just send DCJS a disposition slip (see Appendix 7) from the court. If the case was resolved prior to November 1, 1991, the sealing order that the court sent to DCJS may have been lost before the case was sealed on your rap sheet. You should contact the court clerks office and ask the clerk to send a second sealing order to DCJS. To make sure that all the paperwork was done properly, wait at least six months, then request another copy of your record and look for the sealed notation. HOW DO I SEAL A CASE ON MY FBI RAP SHEET? When DCJS seals an arrest record, it notifies the FBI that the FBI files pertaining to that arrest should be purged. Once again, the only way to be sure that the FBI record is cleaned up is to send for another copy of it. (See page 13.) The FBI does not purge records of sealed state offenses on its own; it responds to whatever DCJS tells it. If a case that is sealed on your DCJS rap sheet shows up on your FBI rap sheet, or if there is an error you want to correct, contact DCJS and ask to speak to the DCJS/FBI liaison. CAN MY MISDEMEANOR OR FELONY CONVICTIONS BE SEALED? No. New York law does not allow misdemeanor or felony convictions to be sealed.

The FBI does not purge records of sealed state offenses on its own; it responds to whatever DCJS tells it. If a case that is sealed on your DCJS rap sheet shows up on your FBI rap sheet, or if there is an error you want to correct, contact DCJS and ask to speak to the DCJS/FBI liaison.

HOW TO GET AND CLEAN UP YOUR NEW YORK STATE RAP SHEET

DO I HAVE TO TELL A PROSPECTIVE EMPLOYER ABOUT MY SEALED RECORDS?


Be sure to read or listen to questions about your criminal history very carefully. If an employer asks whether you have ever been convicted of a crime or have a criminal record, you do not have to disclose information about cases that were sealed if they were terminated in your favor (i.e. dismissals or acquittals), or about non-criminal offenses (e.g. violations, such as disorderly conduct, or traffic infractions). A recent change in New York State law makes it illegal for employers to ask about sealed violation convictions or Youthful Offender adjudications. However, at the time of the publication of this manual, New York State has not stated whether individuals can refuse to answer illegal questions about such convictions or adjudications. (For additional information, see Completing Employment Applications on page 37.) Note: Employers may still ask about violations which have not been sealed.

IF I HAVE A CONVICTION FROM MY YOUTH, CAN IT BE SEALED? Juvenile Delinquency


A juvenile delinquency adjudication is sealed and is not available to any person or public or private agency, but is available to the criminal justice system. For example, if you get convicted of a crime in the future, the judge can consider the records and information on file with the Family Court when imposing your sentence. (See below for how to seal a juvenile delinquency so that it is not available to the criminal justice system.) Juvenile Offender A juvenile offender conviction can never be sealed and is available to any person or public or private agency. Youthful Offender A youthful offender is considered confidential and generally may not be made public to any person or public or private agency. You do not have to file a sealing motion. However, a YO always be available to the criminal justice system and the school where you are enrolled.

HOW TO GET AND CLEAN UP YOUR NEW YORK STATE RAP SHEET

HOW CAN I HAVE MY JD SEALED FROM THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM?


If you have not committed certain designated felonies by the time you reach the age of 16, you can file a motion asking the court to seal your JD so that it is not available even to people in the criminal justice system. The judge will look at the time that has passed since you were adjudicated a JD, the seriousness of the offense, and whether you have had further involvement with the juvenile or criminal justice systems. These motions are not always granted, but you can file again after one year.

WILL MY RECORDS BE SEALED IF MY CASE WAS TRANSFERRED


FROM CRIMINAL OR ANOTHER COURT TO FAMILY COURT?

Yes, the record from both courts should be sealed. The Criminal Court or other court action will still appear on a rap sheet you request but will not be available to any person or public or private agency.

CERTIFICATE OF RELIEF FROM DISABILITIES AND CERTIFICATE OF GOOD CONDUCT


IS THERE ANYTHING I CAN DO ABOUT MY CRIMINAL CONVICTIONS?
If you have a misdemeanor or felony conviction, it cannot be sealed, but you can apply for a Certificate of Relief from Disabilities or a Certificate of Good Conduct. Such certificates restore some of the rights you may have lost as a result of your conviction (such as the right to serve on a jury) and can help when you are looking for work or applying for a license. If you have a certificate when you apply for a job or an occupational license, the employer or licensing agency must assume that you are rehabilitated. This means that you should not be rejected for employment or refused a license just because of your conviction, unless your conviction has a direct bearing on your ability to perform the job. The certificates are useful because New York has a number of laws that otherwise bar persons who have been convicted of certain crimes from working in particular jobs or getting certain licenses. The most common of these laws

HOW TO GET AND CLEAN UP YOUR NEW YORK STATE RAP SHEET

automatically bar people with felony convictions, but some laws also bar people with certain kinds of misdemeanor convictions. These certificates, in most cases, remove what are called statutory bars to employment or occupational licenses. This means that, instead of automatically being disqualified for a particular job or license because of your conviction(s), you have the right to be considered for the position on an individual basis. (For jobs that are considered public offices, there is a special rule; see page 36.) Having a certificate does not completely protect you from being denied a job or license because of your criminal record. A certificate is not a pardon; it does not erase the record of your conviction. You still must list your convictions on job applications that ask for them. And employers will still see your convictions if they ask for your rap sheet when you apply for a job. Finally, although an employer must take your certificate into account in deciding whether to hire you, the law still permits an employer or licensing agency to refuse to hire or license you if your convictions are job-related (see page 40).
Having a certificate does not completely protect you from being denied a job or license because of your criminal record. A certificate is not a pardon; it does not erase the record of your conviction. You still must list your convictions on job applications that ask for them. And employers will still see your convictions if they ask for your rap sheet when you apply for a job.

APPLYING FOR CERTIFICATES OF RELIEF FROM DISABILITIES AND CERTIFICATES OF GOOD CONDUCT
The major difference between Certificates of Relief from Disabilities and Certificates of Good Conduct is who is eligible to apply for each. The application procedure for each is also different. You should apply for only one type of certificate. Under most circumstances, your criminal record will determine which one you may apply for. The two certificates generally carry the same weight in restoring the rights of people with criminal records and certifying that they have been rehabilitated. The one important difference, for public offices, is explained below on page 36.

HOW TO GET AND CLEAN UP YOUR NEW YORK STATE RAP SHEET

WHICH CERTIFICATE SHOULD I APPLY FOR?


You can apply for a Certificate of Relief from Disabilities if you have been convicted of any number of misdemeanors but no more than one felony. That is, you can apply for a Certificate of Relief from Disabilities if you have no felony conviction at all but you have one or more misdemeanor convictions, or if you
You must apply for and get a separate Certificate of Relief from Disabilities for each misdemeanor or felony conviction. You can get Certificates of Relief from Disabilities for all your convictions, even for those that occurred out of state or in federal court. You can get a temporary Certificate of Relief from Disabilities even while you are on probation or parole.

have one felony conviction, with or without any misdemeanor convictions. In counting your felony convictions, you must include all your convictions, even if they were for federal or out-of-state charges. But do not count any cases in which you were tried as a juvenile delinquent or youthful offender. You must apply for and get a separate Certificate of Relief from Disabilities for each misdemeanor or felony conviction. You can get Certificates of Relief from Disabilities for all your convictions, even for those that occurred out of state or in federal court. You can get a temporary Certificate of Relief from Disabilities even while you are on probation or parole. A temporary Certificate of Relief from Disabilities automatically becomes permanent after a specified date unless the issuing court or the parole board has revoked it. You can apply for a Certificate of Good Conduct if you were convicted of two or more felonies and any number of misdemeanors. You need only apply for one Certificate of Good Conduct, which will cover all your felony and misdemeanor convictions. However, there is a waiting period, and your application for a Certificate of Good Conduct will be considered only if a sufficient period of time has passed since your last conviction. If the most serious conviction in your criminal history was for a C, D, or E felony, you must wait at least three years from the date of your last conviction, payment of fine, or release from prison onto parole supervision, whichever is later. You will have to wait at least five years from your last conviction, payment of fine, or release from prison onto parole supervision if your most serious conviction was for an A or B felony. If you were sentenced to probation, the waiting period begins at the time of sentencing. This waiting period is mandatory; no exceptions are made.

HOW TO GET AND CLEAN UP YOUR NEW YORK STATE RAP SHEET

HOW DO I APPLY FOR A CERTIFICATE OF RELIEF FROM DISABILITIES?


The procedure you must follow to apply for a Certificate of Relief from Disabilities depends upon where you were sentenced and what kind of sentence you received. If you were convicted of a misdemeanor or if you were convicted of a felony but served no time in state prison you must apply to the court in which you were convicted for your Certificate of Relief from Disabilities. The court can issue the Certificate any time after you are sentenced. Every court sets up its own procedure for processing applications for Certificates of Relief from Disabilities, so you should contact the court clerk to learn what steps are required. You might have to meet with a probation officer who will evaluate your rehabilitation. The probation officer will prepare a report that includes a recommendation as to whether you should get a Certificate of Relief from Disabilities. Under a law that was passed in 2006, the court should provide you with a copy of that report. If you were convicted of a felony and served time in a state prison, or if you were convicted of a federal or out-of-state misdemeanor or felony, you must apply to the Division of Parole for a Certificate of Relief from Disabilities for that case. You cannot apply if you are still incarcerated, but the Division of Parole will automatically consider giving you a Certificate of Relief from Disabilities when it considers you for early release. The certificate will be mailed to your parole officer 90 days after your release, if your parole has not been revoked. If you are currently on parole, you should make the request for the certificate to your parole officer. He or she will then forward the request to the Division of Parole. If you have an out-of-state felony conviction, you should also make your request to the Division of Parole. To apply to the Division of Parole, request or download one application for each conviction for which you would like a certificate. (See Appendix 12: Letter Requesting Application for Certificate of Relief from Disabilities or go to www.parole.state.ny.us)

HOW TO GET AND CLEAN UP YOUR NEW YORK STATE RAP SHEET

Complete the form or forms the Division sends back, have it (or them) notarized, and then return it (or them) to the Certificate Review Unit. If you have worked in the last three years, you will have to provide proof that you have paid income taxes. The Certificate Review Unit will assign your application to a local parole officer, who will conduct an investigation of your character. After the investigation, the parole officer will send an evaluation to the Parole Division. The Division will make the final decision about your Certificate of Relief from Disabilities and will notify you by mail. The entire process should take six months to one year. Remember, you must get a separate Certificate of Relief from Disabilities for each misdemeanor or felony conviction. If your conviction record is long, you should at least try to get Certificates of Relief from Disabilities for your most recent and
The Certificate Review Unit will review your application to make sure that you are eligible to apply for a Certificate of Good Conduct and then will assign your application to a parole officer in the county where you live. The parole officer will conduct an investigation into your rehabilitation. He or she will want to meet with you in your home.

most serious convictions.

HOW DO I APPLY FOR A CERTIFICATE OF GOOD CONDUCT?


Once the required waiting period of either three years or five years has passed (see page 33), you should request or download an application from the Division of Parole. (See Appendix 13: Letter Requesting Application for a Certificate of Good Conduct or go to www.parole.state.ny.us.) The Certificate Review Unit will mail you an application that is about six pages long. Complete the form to the best of your ability, taking special care to list all the prisons and jails in which you have been incarcerated. You must have the form notarized before returning it to the Certificate Review Unit in Albany. If you have worked in the last three years, you will have to provide proof that you have paid income taxes. The Review Unit will review your application to make sure that you are eligible to apply for a Certificate of Good Conduct and then will assign your application to a parole officer in the county where you live. The parole officer will conduct an investigation into your rehabilitation. He or she will want to meet with you in your home.

HOW TO GET AND CLEAN UP YOUR NEW YORK STATE RAP SHEET

After the investigation, the parole officer will send a report to the Parole Division and will recommend whether or not you should be granted a Certificate of Good Conduct. The Division of Parole will consider the report at one of its meetings and will send you notification of its decision by mail. Warning: It takes at least six months to obtain a Certificate of Good Conduct. If you need your certificate in a hurry, you should explain why in a letter when you send the Certificate Review Unit your completed application form. When a job or occupational license is at stake, the Board makes every effort to speed up the application process.
There is no complete list of all the public offices in New York State, but they include law enforcement jobs (like police officer, court officer or fire fighter), notary public positions, and some elective offices. Often these public offices have felony bars. That means that if you have been convicted of a felony, you are automatically barred from holding one of these jobs.

WHAT IF THE JOB I AM SEEKING IS CONSIDERED A PUBLIC OFFICE?


Some jobs in New York (like police officer and fire fighter) are considered public offices. Even though a Certificate of Relief from Disabilities is ordinarily sufficient to lift a statutory bar against employment of ex-offenders, it cannot do this if the position is considered a public office. Only a Certificate of Good Conduct can lift a statutory bar to a public office. There is no complete list of all the public offices in New York, but they include law enforcement jobs (like police officer, court officer or fire fighter), notary public positions, and some elective offices. Often these public offices have felony bars. That means that if you have been convicted of a felony, you are automatically barred from holding one of these jobs or licenses. You should try to find out whether a particular job you want is considered a public office. You should also find out whether a felony bar (or even a bar for misdemeanor convictions) applies to the position. One way to do this is to ask the employer or licensing agency both questions: Is this job a public office? Is there a felony bar, or a statutory bar for certain kinds of convictions? If the answer is yes, you should apply for a Certificate of Good Conduct, even if you have only one felony conviction, or only misdemeanor convictions. You must tell the Parole Board why you need a Certificate of Good Conduct. You must show the Parole Board that the specific job you want is a public office, and that a felony bar (or other statutory bar) applies to the position.

HOW TO GET AND CLEAN UP YOUR NEW YORK STATE RAP SHEET

COMPLETING EMPLOYMENT APPLICATIONS


Ive received my rap sheet, reviewed it, and made corrections. I still do not know what to put on employment applications!

WHAT IS A CONVICTION ?
Before you fill out an employment application, you have to understand what a conviction is. A conviction is a guilty plea or a courts finding of guilt for a crime or an offense. Crimes are: Felonies: A, B, C, D, or E. Misdemeanors: A or B.
New York State law requires that you disclose conviction information if you are asked by a prospective employer about your criminal history. If the employer asks about arrests, you only need to disclose your convictions (See next page). The only exception to this rule is when you apply for a law enforcement job.

Offenses are: Violations: non-criminal offenses that can be charged in the form of a summons (desk appearance ticket or DAT) or an arrest. Traffic Infractions: often are charged in the form of a summons and do not require an arrest. Note: You can have a conviction even though you never served time in jail. If you received probation, paid a fine, did community service, or received a conditional or unconditional discharge, you generally do have a conviction, unless the community service or discharge was ordered in connection with an ACD (see page 21).

WHAT MUST I DISCLOSE ABOUT MY CRIMINAL RECORD?


New York State law requires that you disclose conviction information if you are asked by a prospective employer about your criminal history. If the employer asks about arrests, you only need to disclose your convictions. You do not have to reveal a juvenile delinquency (JD) or youthful offender (YO) adjudication, because these are not considered convictions. A recent change in New York State law makes it illegal for employers to ask about sealed violation convictions. However, at the time of the publication of this manual, New York State has not stated whether individuals can refuse to answer illegal questions about such convictions. (Note: Employers may still ask about violations which have not been sealed.) The only exception to this rule is when you apply for a law enforcement job. In this field, you are required to list all arrests, including those that did not result in a conviction, as well as traffic summonses.

HOW TO GET AND CLEAN UP YOUR NEW YORK STATE RAP SHEET

Here are some questions you may see on an employment application and appropriate responses:
Q: Have you ever been arrested? If so, explain. A: If you have any arrests that resulted in a conviction, answer yes. (Remember, a guilty plea to any offense and/or crime is a conviction.) Under a recent change in New York State law, questions about sealed offenses or violations are illegal. However, at the time of the publication of this manual, New York State has not stated whether individuals can refuse to answer illegal questions about such convictions. Convictions for crimes and non-sealed violations must still be listed. (See page 39, which explains how you should list your convictions.) If you have arrests, but none resulted in a conviction, answer no. This is because it is illegal to ask about arrests that did not result in a conviction and New York law permits you to answer no to an illegal question in this situation. (The only exception is if you are applying for a law enforcement job. See discussion above.) Q: Have you ever been charged with a crime? If so, explain. A: If you have any arrests that resulted in a misdemeanor or felony conviction, answer yes. List all misdemeanor and felony convictions. (See pages 39 and 40, which explains how you should list your convictions.) If you have arrests, but none resulted in a felony or misdemeanor conviction, or you were only convicted of an offense, answer no. Q: Have you ever been convicted of a crime, offense or violation of the law? If so, explain. A: Under a recent change in New York State law, questions about sealed offenses or violations are illegal. However, at the time of the publication of this manual, New York State has not stated whether individuals can refuse to answer illegal questions about such convictions. Convictions for crimes and non-sealed violations must still be listed. Q: Have you ever pled guilty or been found guilty of a crime or an offense? If so, explain. A: Under a recent change in New York State law, questions about sealed offenses or violations are illegal. However, at the time of the publication of this manual, New York
HOW TO GET AND CLEAN UP YOUR NEW YORK STATE RAP SHEET

State has not stated whether individuals can refuse to answer illegal questions about such convictions. Convictions for crimes and non-sealed violations must still be listed. Q: Have you been convicted of a crime in the past 7 years? If so, explain. A: If you answered yes, list misdemeanor and felony convictions during the past seven years. (Remember, violations and traffic infractions are offenses, not crimes.) Q: Were you ever convicted of an offense or violation of the law anywhere? If so, explain. A: Under a recent change in New York State law, questions about sealed offenses or violations are illegal. However, at the time of the publication of this manual, New York State has not stated whether individuals can refuse to answer illegal questions about such convictions. Convictions for crimes and non-sealed violations must still be listed.

HOW DO I LIST MY CONVICTIONS?


Again, you must disclose your convictions. Pay attention to the questions you are asked. If the application allows you to eliminate some cases, such as those that resulted in a traffic infraction or violation conviction, or the employer is only interested in knowing about convictions within the past five or seven years, then only disclose the information requested. Most employers want to know and are entitled to knowthe disposition (or outcome) of those unsealed cases that resulted in conviction but not those that did not. You should be prepared to provide some basic information, such as the arrest date, disposition date, crime or offense for which you were convicted and sentenced. Again, pay close attention to the question asked, and do not volunteer information you do not need to divulge. For an example of answering an employment question using your rap sheet, turn to the sample rap sheet on page 52. For the first entry, this is how you would report the conviction:
Arrest Date 11/26/04 Disposition Date 1/6/05 Conviction PL 120.14 Sentence $150 fine

HOW TO GET AND CLEAN UP YOUR NEW YORK STATE RAP SHEET

Under the conviction heading, notice that we put the New York State Penal Law citation for the charge. This number is the provision of the criminal code that defines the charge. You must disclose this conviction because it is a misdemeanor. You do not have to list the arrest on 5/25/88 (Cycle 3) listed on our sample rap sheet because the case was dismissed (declined prosecution); there was no conviction. Lets assume that for the second case listed on the sample rap sheet, the individual obtained a disposition slip that verified that on 1/25/84 he pled guilty to petit larceny (PL 155.25A misdemeanor) and was sentenced to three years probation. You then would have to add this case to your list of reported convictions as follows:
Arrest Date 12/21/83 Disposition Date 1/25/84 Conviction PL 155.25 Sentence 3 yrs. probation
Keep in mind that you may have to explain your cases in detail at an interview, so you will need to understand the charges that you have been convicted of. This means you should review your record and be able to briefly explain the circumstances

HOW DO I HELP MYSELF AT THE INTERVIEW?


Keep in mind that you may have to explain your cases in detail at an interview, so you will need to understand the charges that you have been convicted of. This means you should review your record and be able to briefly explain the circumstances underlying your convictions, so that you can highlight all of your successes and accomplishments since then. Most important, you should provide evidence of rehabilitation that addresses the nature of your convictions. For example, if your convictions were drug-related, provide reference letters from a treatment provider or counselor who can confirm your successful recovery and from a clergy, community or family member who can say how you have changed. (See How to Gather Evidence of Rehabilitation, listed below.)

underlying your convictions, so that you can highlight all of your successes and accomplishments since then. Most important, you should provide evidence of rehabilitation that addresses the nature of your convictions.

CAN AN EMPLOYER DENY ME A JOB BECAUSE I HAVE A CRIMINAL RECORD?


New York State law protects against illegal employment discrimination based on criminal history. For more information about this law, about employment discrimination in general, and on tips for getting jobs even if you have a criminal record, see the following Legal Action Center publications. These are all available for free from Legal Action Centers website, www.lac.org/pubs/gratis.html, or by calling us at (212) 243-1313.

HOW TO GET AND CLEAN UP YOUR NEW YORK STATE RAP SHEET

Are You . . . (a guide for taking steps to avoid job discrimination) Certificates of Relief from Disabilities and Certificates of Good Conduct: What You Can Do About Criminal Convictions When Looking for Work Employment Laws Affecting Persons with Criminal Convictions (discusses federal laws) How to Gather Evidence of Rehabilitation How to Obtain Important Documents Know Your Rights: Understanding Juvenile & Criminal Records and Their Impact on Employment in New York State Occupational Licensing Survey (a chart detailing criteria for eligibility and applying for various job-related licenses)

THE KEY TO YOUR SUCCESS IS PREPARATION. GOOD LUCK!

HOW TO GET AND CLEAN UP YOUR NEW YORK STATE RAP SHEET

Appendices

HOW TO GET AND CLEAN UP YOUR NEW YORK STATE RAP SHEET

APPENDIX 1: RAP SHEET REQUEST FOR PERSONS INCARCERATED IN STATE FACILITIES

_____________ (date) New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services 4 Tower Place Albany, NY 12203-3702 Dear Sir/Madam: I am currently incarcerated in a New York State correctional facility, and I am writing to request a copy of my DCJS criminal history record (rap sheet). The following information should assist you in locating my file. NAME and ALIASES ___________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________ DIN # _______________________________________________________ DATE OF BIRTH _____________________________________________ SOCIAL SECURITY # _________________________________________ NYSID # (if known) ___________________________________________ Please process my request at your earliest convenience. Thank you for your attention. Sincerely, _______________________________ (name) _______________________________ (full mailing address) _______________________________ _______________________________

HOW TO GET AND CLEAN UP YOUR NEW YORK STATE RAP SHEET

APPENDIX 2: RAP SHEET REQUEST FOR PERSONS INCARCERATED IN LOCAL FACILITIES

_____________ (date) New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services 4 Tower Place Albany, NY 12203-3702 Dear Sir/Madam: I am currently incarcerated at (full name and address of facility) ____________________________________________________ and am due to be released on _________________. (date of release) I am writing to request a copy of my DCJS criminal history record (rap sheet). The following information should assist you in locating my file. NAME and ALIASES _________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________ DATE OF BIRTH ____________________________________________ INSTITUTIONAL ID # ________________________________________ Please process my request at your earliest convenience. Thank you for your attention. Sincerely, _______________________________ (name) _______________________________ (full mailing address) _______________________________

HOW TO GET AND CLEAN UP YOUR NEW YORK STATE RAP SHEET

APPENDIX 3: DISPOSITIONS THAT MAY BE SEALED UNDER SECTION 160.50 OF THE CRIMINAL PROCEDURE LAW

1. Dismissal 2. Acquittal 3. Dismissal By Grand Jury (Sometimes Called No True Bill) 4. Decline Prosecution (Sometimes Called Nolle Prosequi) 5. Adjournment in Contemplation Of Dismissal (ACD) (after the adjourned period is complete) 6. Conviction for possession of less than 7/8 of an ounce of marijuana (sealed after successful completion of 3-year waiting period)

HOW TO GET AND CLEAN UP YOUR NEW YORK STATE RAP SHEET

APPENDIX 4: VIOLATIONS AND TRAFFIC INFRACTIONS THAT CAN BE SEALED UNDER SECTION 160.50 OF THE CRIMINAL PROCEDURE LAW Penal Law
100.0 140.05 145.30 215.58 221.05 240.20 240.26 240.35 240.40 245.01 245.02 245.05

Violations
Criminal Solicitation, 5 (fifth degree) Trespass Unlawfully Posting Advertisements Failing to Respond to Appearance Ticket Unlawful Possession of Marijuana Disorderly Conduct Harassment In the Second Degree Loitering (except subdivision three of PL 240.35, involving loitering in a sexually deviant manner, or subdivision two of PL 240.37, involving loitering for prostitution). Appearance in Public Under Influence of Narcotics or a Drug Other than Alcohol Exposure of a person Promoting the Exposure of a Person Offensive Exhibition

HOW TO GET AND CLEAN UP YOUR NEW YORK STATE RAP SHEET

APPENDIX 5: SAMPLE THREE COLUMN DCJS RAP SHEET AND KEY


Sample Three Column DCJS Rap Sheet And Key Older Version (Three Column): Your rap sheet is divided into three vertical columns. (See page 43 for a sample of this rap sheet.) Different arrest are separated by a dotted line that runs across the page. The column on the left contains information about the arrest, including the date of your arrest, the county in which you were arrested, the date the crime allegedly took place, the name of the agency that arrested you, and other information. The middle column of the record lists the charges for which you were arrested and on which you were arraigned. The charges will be summarized by a phrase (for example, Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance in the First Degree) that is followed by the corresponding citation in the New York State Penal Law (in this example, PL 220.21) and the category of the offense (felony, misdemeanor, or violation). The number of counts is included, along with the notation of ATTEMPTED if the offense was not completed. The column on the right is the most important section of your file: it should indicate the outcome or disposition of your arrest/arraignment charges. A complete disposition entry contains the date your case was heard, the name of the court, the index or docket number under which your case is filed, and what happened to your case in court (for example, you entered a guilty plea, you were convicted after a trial, or you were acquitted). If you were convicted, the disposition column should also report the type of sentence or fine you received. If you were issued a Certificate of Relief from Disabilities (see page49), that would be indicated here. Recent arrest entries may also indicate whether a Legal Aid Society lawyer or public defender represented you. The sample rap sheet on page 45 is annotated to help you find the above information, as well as other information you may need to know.

Key To Sample Three Column DCJS Rap Sheet


This sample rap sheet contains information on 4 arrests, separated from one another by horizontal lines. 1) 2) 3) 4) Arrest date and place Crime date and place Arresting agency An asterisk indicates that no fingerprint card is on file for this arrest either because the arrest record has been sealed or for some other reason 5) Arrest charges, including a description of each charge, its criminal code number and the level of the charged offense, such as Class A Felony or Class B Misdemeanor 6) The sealed notation indicates that DCJS has sealed the entry 7) Index or docket number 8) The court in which the case was heard 9) Whether a Certificate of Relief has been issued and details 10) Corrections date, including parole and probation 11) Sentence 12) Offense convicted of 13) Disposition 14) Date of disposition

HOW TO GET AND CLEAN UP YOUR NEW YORK STATE RAP SHEET

HOW TO GET AND CLEAN UP YOUR NEW YORK STATE RAP SHEET

APPENDIX 6: SAMPLE SECURE SERVICES DCJS RAP SHEET AND KEY


Secure Services Rap Sheet (Contains CYCLES) This version of the rap sheet contains more criminal justice and identifying information (in most cases, including your picture) than the traditional Three Column rap sheet. (See page 45 for a sample of this new version of the rap sheet.) The beginning area of the rap sheet contains identification information. This information includes physical characteristics, FBI Number, whether you are currently under parole or probation supervision, if a DNA sample is on file with the NYS DNA Database, possible warrants, reason for the printing of the rap sheet and other information that is important to understanding the contents of the rap sheet. It will also state whether fingerprints were used to make the identification. (If fingerprints are no longer available, the search may have produced results based on name, date of birth and physical description.) The second area of the Secured Services Rap Sheet, called Summary Information, lists the total number of arrests and convictions you have by classification of charge, i.e. felony, misdemeanor, violation/infraction. It also lists the number of your open charges, how many arrests were for violent felonies and whether you were adjudicated a Youthful Offender or convicted of a sex offense. It also states if your probation or parole was ever revoked of if you have failed to appear in court. The next part of the Secure Services Rap Sheet is the Criminal History Information. A horizontal line separates each arrest/conviction episode. The information between each set of horizontal lines is referred to as a CYCLE. Each CYCLE represents another arrest. The CYCLE includes arrest/charge information, arraignment, disposition, and incarceration/supervision information concerning that case. The most important area in a CYCLE is the outcome or disposition of your arrest/arraignment charges. A complete disposition entry contains the date your case was heard, the name of the court, the index or docket number under which your case is filed, and what happened to your case in court (for example, you entered a guilty plea, you were convicted after a trial, or you were acquitted). If you were convicted, the disposition column should also report the type of sentence or fine you received, including incarceration/supervision information. If you were issued a Certificate of Relief from Disabilities (see page 49), it would be indicated here. Recent arrest entries may also indicate whether a Legal Aid Society lawyer or public defender represented you.

HOW TO GET AND CLEAN UP YOUR NEW YORK STATE RAP SHEET

The final sections of the rap sheet list other history related information, such as whether you have ever received a Certificate of Good Conduct, information about job and licenses you applied for, where you were fingerprinted and information on outstanding warrants.

KEY TO SAMPLE Secure Services-Cycle DCJS RAP SHEET This sample rap sheet contains information on 3 arrests, separated from each other by horizontal lines and the notation of a new CYCLE. 1) Important information- Including out of state arrest/convictions, supervision information, license/job application information, etc. 2) Personal identifying information 3) Summery information: Summary of all arrest, convictions, classification of convictions/arrest 4) Arrest date and place 5) Crime date and place 6) Arresting agency 7) Arrest charges, including a description of each charge, its criminal code number and the level of the charged offense, such as Class A Felony or Class B Misdemeanor 8) Index or docket number 9) The court in which the case was heard 10) Disposition of case 11) Date of disposition 12) Offense convicted of 13) Sentence 14) An asterisk indicates that no fingerprint card is on file for this arrest, either because the arrest record has been sealed or for some other reason 15) The sealed notation indicates that DCJS has sealed the entry 16) Open Warrant

HOW TO GET AND CLEAN UP YOUR NEW YORK STATE RAP SHEET

HOW TO GET AND CLEAN UP YOUR NEW YORK STATE RAP SHEET

HOW TO GET AND CLEAN UP YOUR NEW YORK STATE RAP SHEET

HOW TO GET AND CLEAN UP YOUR NEW YORK STATE RAP SHEET

HOW TO GET AND CLEAN UP YOUR NEW YORK STATE RAP SHEET

HOW TO GET AND CLEAN UP YOUR NEW YORK STATE RAP SHEET

APPENDIX 7: EXAMPLE OF DISPOSITION SLIP

HOW TO GET AND CLEAN UP YOUR NEW YORK STATE RAP SHEET

APPENDIX 8: MODEL LETTER TO COURT REQUESTING DISPOSITION SLIP IF YOU ARE INCARCERATED

(date) __________________________ (court) __________________________ (address) __________________________ __________________________ Dear Sir/Madam: Please send me a certified disposition slip for the following case. I was the defendant in this matter. ARREST DATE ________________________________________ ARREST CHARGES ____________________________________ DOCKET/INDICTMENT # _______________________________ NAME/ALIASES _______________________________________ I request that you waive any fee for this service because I am incarcerated. Thank you. Sincerely, _______________________________ (name) _______________________________ (full mailing address) _______________________________ _______________________________

HOW TO GET AND CLEAN UP YOUR NEW YORK STATE RAP SHEET

APPENDIX 9: MODEL LETTER CHALLENGING INFORMATION ON A RAP SHEET AND REQUESTING CORRECTIONS
July 15, 2003 New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services Record Review Unit 4 Tower Place Albany, NY 12203-3764 RE: DCJS record of John Doe NYSID # 0000A Dear Sir/Madam: On June 18th, I reviewed a copy of my rap sheet with a DCJS representative in Syracuse. I discovered several errors on my record and am writing to outline the corrections that should be made. As required, I am enclosing certified disposition slips. My challenges include: 1. My rap sheet reports that I was convicted of Burglary on 10/17/77. In fact, I was adjudicated a youthful offender on this charge, as documented by the attached disposition slip with docket number Y0012. Please correct my records as soon as possible. 2. No disposition is reported for my 3/24/78 arrest. The attached court transcript with docket number X3567 reveals that all charges were dismissed following this arrest. Please add this information to your files. 3. The third column of my 9/2/79 entry indicates that I was convicted of Petit Larceny (155.25 PL) when, in fact, I was convicted of Attempted Petit Larceny (110/155.25 PL). Please change my records after referring to the attached disposition slip with docket number 3611. 4. Information pertaining to my 8/28/81 arrest is split into two separate entries on my rap sheet. Please consolidate the arrest and corrections information into one entry. See attached disposition with docket number C1652-9. 5. My rap sheet reports that a bench warrant is outstanding in my 2/1/83 case. However, this warrant was vacated on 4/5/84 when I pled guilty to Criminal Trespass, as indicated by the attached disposition slip with docket number 6541. Please update my record. Please inform me of the changes that you have made on my rap sheet. Thank you for your attention. Sincerely, John Doe 125 Main Street Syracuse, NY 15555

HOW TO GET AND CLEAN UP YOUR NEW YORK STATE RAP SHEET

APPENDIX 10: LETTER TO THE COURT REQUESTING SEALING OF CASE WITHOUT AN AFFIDAVIT

John Doe 352 Clinton Street, #6F Brooklyn, NY 11205 February 12, 2001 Town Justice Court Town of Clarkstown New City, NY 10956 Dear Clerk of the Court: I was tried in the Town Justice Court of Clarkstown on November 10, 1977, under docket number P12-3577. I pled guilty to the charge of Trespass (140.05 PL) and paid a $50.00 fine. I am contacting you now to request that the records of my violation conviction be sealed pursuant to Section 160.55 of the New York State Criminal Procedure Law. Please forward sealing orders to any agency that has a record of my arrest, including the Division of Criminal Justice Services, the Clarkstown Police Department, and the District Attorney of Rockland County. In addition, please send me notification of the outcome of my sealing motion request. Thank you for your attention. Sincerely, John Doe

cc: District Attorneys Office

HOW TO GET AND CLEAN UP YOUR NEW YORK STATE RAP SHEET

APPENDIX 11: MODEL COVER LETTER TO COURT WITH A SEALING MOTION AFFIDAVIT

John Doe 1650 Brook Avenue Bronx, NY 10454 January 28, 2001 Certified Mail Court Clerks Office Bronx Criminal Court 215 East 161st Street Bronx, NY 10451 Dear Sir/Madam: Enclosed you will find a notice of motion to seal the records of my arrest on (date), pursuant to Section 160.50 of the Criminal Procedure Law, along with a supporting affidavit. This case was dismissed in Bronx Criminal Court on 2/7/76 under docket number X32286. Please process my sealing motion accordingly. [I can not deliver this motion in person or make an appearance in court because I am incarcerated.] Please notify me of the outcome of this motion. Thank you. Sincerely,

John Doe cc: District Attorneys Office

HOW TO GET AND CLEAN UP YOUR NEW YORK STATE RAP SHEET

APPENDIX 12: MODEL LETTER REQUESTING AN APPLICATION FOR CERTIFICATE OF RELIEF FROM DISABILITIES

(Your address)

(Date)_________________

New York State Division of Parole Certificate Review Unit 97 Central Avenue Albany, NY 12206 Dear Sir/Madam: Please forward to me the forms required to apply for a Certificate of Relief from Disabilities. I have not been convicted of more than one felony. I am not currently incarcerated or on parole. Thank you.

Sincerely, (Your name)

HOW TO GET AND CLEAN UP YOUR NEW YORK STATE RAP SHEET

APPENDIX 13: MODEL LETTER REQUESTING AN APPLICATION FOR A CERTIFICATE OF GOOD CONDUCT

(Your address)

(Date)_________________ New York State Division of Parole Certificate Review Unit 97 Central Avenue Albany, NY 12206 Dear Sir/Madam: Please forward to me the forms required to apply for a Certificate of Good Conduct. I have been convicted of at least two felonies. I have let the proper amount of time pass since my last conviction/release from incarceration. Thank you. Sincerely,

(Your name)

HOW TO GET AND CLEAN UP YOUR NEW YORK STATE RAP SHEET

APPENDIX 14: SAMPLE PAPERS FOR SEALING MOTION UNDER 160.50 AND BLANK FORMS FOR YOU TO COMPLETE
CRIMINAL COURT OF THE CITY OF NEW YORK COUNTY OF KINGS - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - x : THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK : : Respondent, : : -against: : : ANN JONES (a/k/a ANN PETERS) : : Petitioner. : : - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - x

Docket No. X312/75 NOTICE OF MOTION PURSUANT TO SECTION 160.50(1)(a), (b), (c), (d)

PLEASE TAKE NOTICE, that upon the annexed affidavit of ANN JONES, and upon all proceedings heretofore had before this Court, the Petitioner will move this Court on March 22, 2007 at Part 2,located at 120 Schermerhorn Street, City of Brooklyn, County of Kings, State of New York, for an Order that all Court records be sealed and for all other relief set forth in Subdivisions 1(a), (b), (c) and (d) of Section 160.50 of the Criminal Procedure Law. Dated: Brooklyn , New York ___(date)_____ Respectfully submitted, ________________________ ANN JONES

TO: Clerk of the Court 120 Schermerhorn Street Brooklyn, NY 11201 District Attorney 210 Joralemon Street Brooklyn, NY 11201

HOW TO GET AND CLEAN UP YOUR NEW YORK STATE RAP SHEET

CRIMINAL COURT OF THE CITY OF NEW YORK COUNTY OF KINGS - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - x THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK : : Respondent, : : -against: : ANN JONES (a/k/a) ANN PETERS, : : Petitioner. : : - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - x STATE OF NEW YORK COUNTY OF KINGS_ ) ) ss.: Docket No. X312/75 AFFIDAVIT IN SUPPORT

_ANN JONES________, being duly sworn, deposes and says: 1. NY 10011. 2. The above-entitled criminal action was terminated in my All charges favor, as defined in CPL Section 160.50(2). 3. me. 4. Because an attorney no longer represents me in the above matter(s) and because I no longer reside at the address given at the time of this criminal action, I request that all photographs and fingerprints required by statute to be returned to me, be sent to me at my above present address. I am the Petitioner in the above-entitled criminal action, and currently reside at 950 West 20th Street, New York,

stemming from my arrest on 6/8/75____ were dismissed on 6/13/75. No other criminal action or proceeding is pending against

HOW TO GET AND CLEAN UP YOUR NEW YORK STATE RAP SHEET

WHEREFORE, I respectfully request that this Court issue an Order requiring the destruction of all photographs and fingerprints, the sealing of all official records and papers, and all other relief set forth in Subdivisions 1(a), (b), (c) and (d) of Section 160.50 of the Criminal Procedure Law. Respectfully submitted, _______________________ ANN JONES

Sworn to before me this 5th day of February , 2007_

____________________________ Notary Public

HOW TO GET AND CLEAN UP YOUR NEW YORK STATE RAP SHEET

________ COURT OF THE CITY OF NEW YORK COUNTY OF ________ - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - x : THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK : Docket No. : Respondent, : : -against: NOTICE OF MOTION : PURSUANT TO : SECTION ____________________ : 160.50(1)(a), : (b), (c), (d) Petitioner. : : - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - x PLEASE TAKE NOTICE, that upon the annexed affidavit of _________________, and upon all proceedings heretofore had before this Court, the Petitioner will move this Court on ______________, 2007 at Part_______, located at ______________ ___, City of New York, County of ________, State of New York, for an Order that all photographs and fingerprints be destroyed and all Court records be sealed and for all other relief set forth in Subdivisions 1(a), (b), (c) and (d) of Section 160.50 of the Criminal Procedure Law. Dated: , New York ___(date)_____ ________________________ TO: Clerk of the Court __________________ __________________ District Attorney __________________ __________________ Respectfully submitted,

HOW TO GET AND CLEAN UP YOUR NEW YORK STATE RAP SHEET

________ COURT OF THE CITY OF NEW YORK COUNTY OF ________ - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - x THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK : Docket No. : Respondent, : : -against: AFFIDAVIT : IN SUPPORT ____________________, : : Petitioner. : : - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - x STATE OF NEW YORK COUNTY OF ________ says: ) ) ss.:

__________________, being duly sworn, deposes and

1. I am the Petitioner in the above-entitled criminal action, and currently reside at _____________________________________ ____________. 2. The above-entitled criminal action was terminated in my favor, as defined in CPL Section 160.50(2). All charges stemming from my arrest on ____________ were dismissed on _____ _______. 3. No other criminal action or proceeding is pending against me. 4. Because an attorney no longer represents me in the above matter(s) and because I no longer reside at the address given at the time of this criminal action, I request that all photographs and fingerprints required by statute to be returned to me, be sent to me at my above present address.

HOW TO GET AND CLEAN UP YOUR NEW YORK STATE RAP SHEET

WHEREFORE, I respectfully request that this Court issue an Order requiring the destruction of all photographs and fingerprints, the sealing of all official records and papers, and all other relief set forth in Subdivisions 1(a), (b), (c) and (d) of Section 160.50 of the Criminal Procedure Law. Respectfully submitted, _______________________

Sworn to before me this day of

, 20__

____________________________ Notary Public

HOW TO GET AND CLEAN UP YOUR NEW YORK STATE RAP SHEET

APPENDIX 15: SAMPLE PAPERS FOR SEALING MOTION UNDER CPL 160.55 AND BLANK FORMS FOR YOU TO COMPLETE - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - x THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK : : Respondent, : : : : : - against : : : : : : : BILL SMITH (a/k/a) JOHN DOE, : : Petitioner. : : - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - x Docket No. 3215/69 NOTICE OF MOTION PURSUANT TO C.P.L. SECTION 160.55 (FOR RETURN OF FINGERPRINTS SEALING OF RECORDS, ETC. UPON TERMINATION OF CRIMINAL ACTION BY CONVICTION FOR A NONCRIMINAL OFFENSE)

PLEASE TAKE NOTICE, that upon the annexed affidavit of BILL SMITH, and upon all proceedings heretofore had before this Court, the Petitioner will move this Court on 2/5/01, at Part 1A , located at 215 East Bronx , State of New York, 161st Street, City of New York, County of

for an Order that all photographs and fingerprints be returned and all Court records be sealed and for all other relief set forth in Subdivisions 1(a), (b), (c) and (d) of Section 160.55 of the Criminal Procedure Law. Dated: Bronx ________ (date) TO: , New York Respectfully submitted, ______________________

Clerk of the Court 215 East 161st Street Bronx, NY 10451 District Attorney 215 East 161st Street Bronx, NY 10451

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CRIMINAL COURT OF THE CITY OF NEW YORK COUNTY OF BRONX_ - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - x THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK : : Respondent, : : -against: : BILL SMITH (A/K/A JOHN DOE), : : Petitioner. : : - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - x STATE OF NEW YORK COUNTY OF BRONX_ ) ) ss.: Docket No. 3215/69 AFFIDAVIT IN SUPPORT

_BILL SMITH_______, being duly sworn, deposes and says: 1. Bronx, NY 2. I am the Petitioner in the above-entitled 10011. criminal action, and currently reside at 151 Fulton Avenue, The above-entitled criminal action was terminated by a On 3/5/79__ I was arrested and charged

conviction of a non-criminal offense as defined in C.P.L. Section 160.55(1). with violating Section(s) 205.30, 155.25 of the Penal Law. On 3/10/79 I was convicted of 240.30 PL, a violation, in full satisfaction of all the criminal charges against me. 3. 4. No other criminal action or proceeding is pending Because an attorney no longer represents me in the against me. above matter(s) and because I no longer reside at the address given at the time of this criminal action, I request that all photographs and fingerprints required by statute to be returned to me, be sent to me at my above present address.

HOW TO GET AND CLEAN UP YOUR NEW YORK STATE RAP SHEET

WHEREFORE, I respectfully request that this Court issue an Order requiring the destruction of all photographs and fingerprints, the sealing of all official records and papers, and all other relief set forth in Subdivisions 1(a), (b), (c) and (d) of Section 160.55 of the Criminal Procedure Law. Respectfully submitted, _______________________ BILL SMITH

Sworn to before me this 2nd day of February , 2001_

____________________________ Notary Public

HOW TO GET AND CLEAN UP YOUR NEW YORK STATE RAP SHEET

________ COURT OF THE _____ OF NEW YORK COUNTY OF ________ - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - x THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK : Docket No. : Respondent, : : NOTICE OF MOTION : PURSUANT TO C.P.L. : SECTION 160.55 (FOR - against : RETURN OF FINGERPRINTS : SEALING OF RECORDS, : ETC. UPON TERMINATION : OF CRIMINAL ACTION BY : CONVICTION FOR A NON: CRIMINAL OFFENSE) ___________________________, : : Petitioner. : - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - x
PLEASE TAKE NOTICE, that upon the annexed affidavit of _________________, and upon all proceedings heretofore had before this Court, the Petitioner will move this Court on _____________, at Part_______, located at _________________, City of ________, County of ________, State of New York, for an Order that all photographs and fingerprints be returned and all Court records be sealed and for all other relief set forth in Subdivisions 1(a), (b), (c) and (d) of Section 160.55 of the Criminal Procedure Law. Dated: (date) ______________________ TO: Clerk of the Court __________________ __________________ District Attorney __________________ __________________ , New York ________ Respectfully submitted,

HOW TO GET AND CLEAN UP YOUR NEW YORK STATE RAP SHEET

________ COURT OF THE _____ OF NEW YORK COUNTY OF ________ - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - x THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK : Docket No. : Respondent, : : -against: AFFIDAVIT : IN SUPPORT _______________________, : : Petitioner. : : - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - x STATE OF NEW YORK COUNTY OF _______ ) ) ss.:

__________________, being duly sworn, deposes and says: 1. I am the Petitioner in the above-entitled _____. criminal action, and currently reside at ______________________________ 2. The above-entitled criminal action was terminated by a On ________ I was arrested and charged

conviction of a non-criminal offense as defined in C.P.L. Section 160.55(1). with violating Section(s) ______________ of the Penal Law. On _______ I was convicted of _________, a violation, in full satisfaction of all the criminal charges against me. 3. 4. No other criminal action or proceeding is pending Because an attorney no longer represents me in the against me. above matter(s) and because I no longer reside at the address given at the time of this criminal action, I request that all photographs and fingerprints required by statute to be returned to me, be sent to me at my above present address.

HOW TO GET AND CLEAN UP YOUR NEW YORK STATE RAP SHEET

WHEREFORE, I respectfully request that this Court issue an Order requiring the destruction of all photographs and fingerprints, the sealing of all official records and papers, and all other relief set forth in Subdivisions 1(a), (b), (c) and (d) of Section 160.55 of the Criminal Procedure Law. Respectfully submitted, _______________________

Sworn to before me this ___ day of ________ , _____

____________________________ Notary Public

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APPENDIX 16: LIST OF ADDRESSES FOR MAJOR NEW YORK STATE COURTS NEW YORK CITY
C R I M I N A L (M I S D E M E A N O R ) Bronx Criminal Court 215 East 161 s t Street Bronx, NY 10451 Kings County Criminal Court 120 Schermerhorn Street Brooklyn, NY 11201 New York Criminal Court 100 Centre Street New York, NY 10013 Queens Criminal Court 125-01 Queens Boulevard Kew Gardens, NY 11415 Richmond Criminal Court 67 Targee Street Staten Island, NY 10301 S U P R E M E (F E L O N I E S ) Bronx Supreme Court 851 Grand Concourse Bronx, NY 10451 Kings County Supreme Court Supreme Court Building Brooklyn, NY 11201 New York Supreme Court 60 Centre Street New York, NY 10013 Queens Supreme Court 88-11 Sutphin Boulevard Jamaica, NY 11435 Richmond Supreme Court County Court House St. George, NY 10301

OUTSIDE OF NEW YORK CITY


Albany County Court Room 102 Columbia and Eagle Streets Room 200 Albany, NY 12207 Erie County Supreme Court Actions & Proceedings Dept 25 Delaware Avenue Buffalo, NY 14202 Nassau County District Court 400 County Seat Road Mineola, NY 11501 Onandaga County Clerk Clerks Office Court House Sy racuse, NY 13203 Suffolk County 1 s t District Court H. Lee Dennison Building Veterans Memorial Highway Hauppage, NY 11788 Westchester County Court 110 Grove Street White Plains, NY 10601

HOW TO GET AND CLEAN UP YOUR NEW YORK STATE RAP SHEET