New York Governor Signs Clean Slate Law

Governor Kathy Hochul signed a bill into law on November 16, 2023 requiring that certain past criminal conviction records be sealed.

The Clean Slate Act states that eligible misdemeanor convictions must be sealed once three years has passed from the time an individual has satisfied the terms of their sentence. The same requirements apply for eligible felony convictions once eight years has passed from an individual's sentence satisfaction.

Crimes ineligible for sealing include sex offenses or Class A felonies under New York penal law, such as aggravated murder (with the exception of certain bribery offenses.)

A private right of action against a person who discloses a sealed conviction is permissible by the affected party. Damages can be collected for scenarios in which:

  • there was a duty of care owed to the individual with the sealed conviction;
  • the person knowingly and willfully breached such duty;
  • the disclosure caused injury to the individual; and
  • the "breach of that duty was a substantial factor in the events that caused the injury suffered by such person."

The law takes effect in November of 2024, one year after its signing. From that point, the New York State Office of Court Administration has up to three years to establish and implement processes for identifying and sealing eligible convictions.

New York employers are encouraged to begin evaluating internal background check practices to determine if and how hiring practices may need to be adjusted.

Posted: December 15, 2023

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This document and/or presentation is provided as a service to our customers. Its contents are designed solely for informational purposes, and should not be inferred or understood as legal advice or binding case law, nor shared with any third parties. Persons in need of legal assistance should seek the advice of competent legal counsel. Although care has been taken in preparation of these materials, we cannot guarantee the accuracy, currency or completeness of the information contained within it. Anyone using this information does so at his or her own risk.

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