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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Posts
    3

    Default Who Has Access to Sealed Court Records

    My question involves criminal law for the state of: New York

    I was arrested in March 2000 for possession of marijuana (was fingerprinted/mugshot taken upon arrest). The judge ordered my case dismissed and immediately sealed. I am currently in the process of trying to become certified to teach in NY State public schools and they do a 'background check' as part of the application process. Will the NY State Department of Education learn about this arrest during this background check? If so, is there anything that I can do now to mitigate this? Do you think that this would disqualify me from becoming certified? (I realize this isn't exactly a legal question here...). Finally, do you think that NYC school principals- charged with hiring- do a background check when hiring? If so, then would you recommend that I pay a service such as HireRight to see what-if anything- comes up?

    Thank you, Harper

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Posts
    1,284

    Default Re: Who Has Access to Sealed Court Records

    Since the charge was dismissed,maybe you can get the records expungeld.Try and see if a local lawyer will give you a free consulation. They might find the arrest,they most likely will do a backround check. A lawyer can also let you know your legal rights when asked a question on an applactio.For ex,Have you ever been arrested or charged with any offense besides a minor traffic ticket,sometimes geting stuff sealed would allow you to legal answer no for that question.

    Any arrest which is not pending or did not result in a conviction is not considered an arrest according to New York criminal laws. N.Y. Executive Law Section 296, subdivision 16, prohibits such a question with limited exceptions, for example on applications to become a policeman. A file that has been sealed also allows the applicant to answer no. New York Criminal Procedure Law Section 160.50 which requires the sealing states that when a criminal action terminates in a person's favor all records shall be sealed "and not made available to any person." An ACD is a form of dismissal of charges and is not a conviction.

    http://www.ilawyer.com/library/FAQ_criminal_defense.jsp

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Posts
    3

    Default Re: Who Has Access to Sealed Court Records

    Thank you for your quick reply.

    New York State law does not provide for expungement of misdemeanors nor felonies- only minor infractions such as a traffic violation. So, expungement is not an option.

    Do you think that the NY State Department of Education will discover this arrest when they do their background check on me? Wikipedia states that for NY, only certain public entities have access to this arrest record. They cite the courts and law enforcement as two such examples. Does the Dept. of Ed. fit into this group?

    Thanks again for all your help, Harper

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Posts
    239

    Default Re: Who Has Access to Sealed Court Records

    You can also get a certificate of relief of disabilty, but do not think you need it. Sealed is good enough. It is illegal to discriminate

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Albany, NY
    Posts
    1

    Default Re: Who Has Access to Sealed Court Records

    Hi Harpersedg,

    Your post is of special interest to me because I am in the same shoes you were in and am curious how things worked out for you. Did you get the job? I hope it all worked out for you.

    I was arrested a year ago in January for marijuana in NYC. I was convicted of "aggressive panhandling" and told my record would be clean after 1 year. i called NY criminal records earlier today and they told me that my conviction is sealed, but the police report is on file that specifically said Marijuana possession was the cause of my arrest. I too was fingerprinted and had a mugshot taken.

    I am in the process of sealing a job deal and have to submit paperwork. they will be doing a background check. I wanted to know if you answered "no" to the convictions question and see how your background check went.

    I am hoping not to have to get into explaining the situation if I don't need to.

    If you have any insight i would greatly appreciate it.

    Many, many thanks

  6. #6

    Default Re: Who Has Access to Sealed Court Records

    All federal agencies will have record of your arrest. Like FBI, Immigration, customs homeland security and all other federal agencies and all the courts and law enforcement.

    If you have time then do your state police background check and FBI background check to see what is the charge and final disposition of court showing in your record.

    I think if case is dismissed and your record sealed you can say no to the question and they might not have access to your records if it is not a public record. Call and ask them

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Posts
    1,284

    Default Re: Who Has Access to Sealed Court Records

    Keep in mind,with computers and deep background checks there always a chance of stuff popping up.The law could help you,in new york there not suppose to discriminate against you w. an acd.I heard one judge say it's like you never got arrested,there always a chance it could pop in a background check.If you can legally answer no to a question,you can provide prove if they question why you checked the no box. They could always find it somehow,not hire you and then don't mention why.

    certificate of relief of disability(I'm pretty sure this is only available if you have a misdemeanor or felony).It helps more w. licensing or let you apply for certain city jobs were a conviction would disqualify a person.

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