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Youthful Offender & Sealing

CPL 720.35 Youthful Offender/Confidential Sealing
CPL 160.50 -A Complete Sealing- No Public Record
CPL 160.55 -A Partial Seal- Court File is a Public Record


CPL 720.35 Youthful Offender Confidential/Sealing
"Youth" means a person charged with a crime alleged to have been committed when he/she was at least sixteen years old & less than nineteen years old.

Youthful Offender status is granted at sentencing in the interest of justice & is meant to relieve the eligible youth from the onus of having a criminal record.

The records are automatically sealed upon a youthful offender adjudication. All official records and papers on file with court or police agency or the NYS Division of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS) are sealed.

Confidential Records under CPL 720.35 are available to:
  • The institution to which the youth has been committed.
  • The division of parole.
  • The probation department.
  • The statewide registry of orders of protection when an order of protection or family offense warrant is issued.
  • The designated educational official (DEO) of the public or private elementary or secordary school in which the youth is enrolled as a student. The DEO shall not have access to any other official records except an order of protection or temporary order of protection issued pursuant to CPL 530.12.
  • Statewide registry for orders of protection or a warrant issued pursuant to CPL 530.12.
CPL 720.35 Exceptions
Records are available:
  • Where specifically required or permitted by statute.
  • Upon specific authorization of the court.

Removal to Family Court - Sealing CPL 725.15
When a Juvenile Offender case is removed to Family Court pursuant to CPL 180.75, all records of the criminal court proceeding are sealed. Access to the sealed records are governed by the provisions of the Family Court Act.

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CPL 160.50 -A Complete Sealing- No Public Record
Sealing Criminal Records in New York State

Criminal Procedure Law 160.50 allows for the sealing of records and destruction of fingerprints, palmprints, photographs, proofs and copies thereof when the outcome of the criminal case is favorable to the defendant.

Cases become favorable for sealing immediately upon a favorable finding of:
  • Acquittal
  • Outright dismissal
  • Upon dismissal after an Adjournment in Contemplation of Dismissal pursuant to CPL 170.55/170.56.

Note: Abated by death is NOT a favorable disposition.

Cases become favorable for sealing three years after the crime occurred for fingerprintable cases reduced to Penal Law 221.05 (marijuana) for which there was a plea or conviction.

CPL 160.50 Exceptions
Cases dismissed pursuant to CPL 170.56 (marijuana adjournment resulting in dismissal) qualify for sealing but do not allow for the return or destruction of documents. The documents remain on file and can be used as the basis for making future identifications.

Court Notifications
City Courts notify the New York State Office of Court Administration (OCA), prosecutor and arresting agency about the favorable finding (disposition). OCA will notify the NYS Division of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS). DCJS will notify the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Action Taken by Agencies
Agencies (DCJS, arrest, prosecution and courts) seal their records. Those agencies with fingerprint cards, photographs, palmprints, proofs and duplicates must destroy the documents or return the documents to the defendant.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation will not seal a record. They expunge the record and notify the arresting agency that the expungement has occurred. The FBI destroys the fingerprint card.

Sealed Records Under 160.50 CPL Are Available To:
  • The defendant
  • The defendant's designated agent (with proper identification).
  • The prosecutor, if the defendant moves for an ACOD pursuant to 170.56 or 210.46 PL.
  • A law enforcement agency, under ex parte motion to any superior court.
  • A state or local agency responsible for gun licensing.
  • The state division of parole, if defendant is under their jurisdiction.
  • The probation department, if the defendant is under their jurisdiction.
  • Any prospective employer of a police/peace officer candidate.
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CPL 160.55 -A Partial Seal- Court File is a Public Record

Disposition of a misdemeanor or felony case by a plea to a violation or traffic infraction. The case will be sealed as to fingerprints and photographs ONLY. The court file is a public record within standard procedures.

CPL 160.55 Exceptions
No sealing for:
  • Loitering for the purpose of engaging in deviant sexual intercourse (PL 240.35(3)).
  • Loitering for the purpose of engaging in Prostitution (PL 240.37).
  • Driving while ability impaired (VTL 1192.1).
  • Where order by the court after motion on notice by DA (CPL 160.55(1)).

Court Notifications
Court notifications are identical to those mentioned under CPL 160.50

Action Taken by Agencies
Identical to those mentioned under CPL 160.50 with the exception that the court does NOT seal its record; everyone else does.

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