It was one of the biggest surprises I encountered after leaving the United States Attorney’s Office and starting private practice. To this day, about once a month, sometimes more, I get a call from someone that wants to know how to expunge their criminal record in New York. It was a surprise because, you can’t expunge a criminal conviction from your record in New York. That doesn’t apparently stop people from advertising for services that claim otherwise.
Once a criminal conviction is recorded on your criminal history, it’s there for good. There are a lot of things your attorney can do to prevent that, but it has to be done upfront, not years later. That’s why it’s important to make certain that you select an attorney that is familiar with the law in this area. A criminal conviction can limit your future in ways that you may not be able to predict right now, so it’s important to do what you can now.
When I meet with my clients, I make sure to find out as much about their lives as possible. Sometimes clients ask me, “Why do you need to know this.” In most cases, I am trying to make sure that I do everything to protect them from the “collateral consequences” of their case. For young clients, it means making sure that their case does not keep them from reaching their dreams and potential.
In many cases, even when a client has no defense, we are able to craft a disposition of their case that wipes their record clear, as if it never happened.